What’s going on in this picture?
That’s what I thought when I was walking along Praed Street recently. So I had an investigate and I discovered that engineers were pulling cable to link up new cameras for the western extension of the congestion charge zone. Now this is some network: have a read of this Transport for London - Fact sheet. “No image will travel more than 20 kilometres from any point within the charging zone” over a fibre optic data network provided by Colt and BT. I asked the cablepuller if I could take a picture of the work taking place but he said no. So he’s entitled to know how the network is made and what is in the box, but I am not. OK…. so these pictures are not as exciting as they could be…
What’s in the black boxes? “Although the main ANPR system is housed at the hub site, there are an additional 25 ANPR ‘lap-top’ units which will be deployed at fixed camera locations in the event of communications failure to these locations. They will operate in the same way as the normal ANPR system but will be localised at the comms cabinets on the streets. They will be deployed when there is a comms failure and the media will be collected manually from the cabinet. These units are ruggidised Industrial Computers with custom cards to capture and read number plates at a full 50 f.p.s frame rate.”
But what is actually in the box at the junction of Praed Street? Well, when I saw it just a network hub which looked like it was providing 48v of power over the ethernet cables that were pulled from the street corner to the cameras on the pole top. So thissite is probably connected to the main ANPR system rather than housing one of those ‘lap-top’ units.
Here are a couple more snaps from saterlite camera sites under construction at the edge of the western extension. These snaps are just below the harrow road / ladbroke grove junction.