Web cameras are transforming how environmental monitoring is conducted. Video data is being used for applications related to transportation and commerce, preparedness and risk reduction, and stewardship of coastal resources.
The NOAA NOS Web Camera Applications Testbed (WebCAT) is a short-term project that is installing web cameras in five locations for various purposes – counting right whales, spotting rip currents, validating wave run up models, understanding human use of natural resources and more. This unique project is a public-private partnership leveraging the expertise and capabilities of private, nonprofit and public sectors.
The WebCAT tool provides an interactive web page to browse both live feeds and historical archive footage from a number of webcams set up at fixed locations. The historical archive video clips are broken into 10 minute segments and cover 5am through 10pm each day. The clips are in 1280×720 resolution, encoded with the H.264 codec, and are approximately 110mb each. Historical clips are available usually two days after recording.
Viewing Historical Footage Using the WebCAT Tool
To view historical archive footage using the WebCAT tool, select a location on the map. The tool will show the live camera feed, if available, by default. Click inside the “Select archive date” box to bring up a calendar view, showing days with available historical coverage. On selection, the tool will show the clip from 10:00am of the selected day.
Ten minute clips from the same hour are shown in a bar below the video. Clicking the corresponding button will show that clip. To see all available clips from the selected day, press the “More Times” button below the video, and select a clip from the menu.
Downloading Historical Footage
The WebCAT tool can be used to download archive clips. While viewing a clip, the Information icon on the bar below the video will show a download button, as well as the URL of the clip in a text box that can be copied. Your browser may also show a download button on the video itself and/or allow you to interact with the clip via right clicking.
The clips may also be accessed via a command-line tool like wget or curl. They are named in a standard pattern:
http://webcat-video.axds.co/<station code>/raw/<year>/<year>_<month>/<year>_<month>_<day>/<station code>.<year>-<month>-<day>_<time>.mp4
Use the WebCAT tool to determine the station codes by inspecting the Video URL of any clip from that station using the Information icon.
Historical Footage Status/Availability
You can see overall historical footage availability for each station at webcat-video.axds.co/status: