It is frustrating, at the end of a tiring day of travelling to finally get to your car in the airport car park, only to discover that someone has vandalised or even broken into your vehicle. In one fell swoop, all memories of a successful business trip or a relaxing holiday are swept away in the flood of insurance questions, making arrangements for repairs and filing a police report.
Fortunately, at Billund airport the chances that travellers will experience such unpleasantness are practically zero. The main reason for this is effective surveillance of the parking areas. “Before we took over as operators of the parking areas in 1997, patrons were filing over 500 reports per year. These days, it is just a few isolated incidents – in fact, in 2014 not a single report was filed regarding a car being broken into while it was parked here,” declares Thomas Holm, technical director for APCOA Parkering, the company that now runs the parking areas at the airport.
The company, formerly called Europark, raised the level of security significantly by introducing enclosures, security guards, barrier systems and systematic video surveillance. In cooperation with Dallmeier and its Danish partner, Fredericia-based Scanview A/S, which has been working with APCOA Parkering on video surveillance since 2002, a new era was begun last year.
“As part of a major expansion and reconfiguration of the parking areas, we wanted to set up a surveillance capability for zones P6, P7, P8 and P9. After thorough deliberations, and having taken advice from Scanview, we decided to go with the Panomera system from Dallmeier. And we have not regretted it,” says Holm.
The Panomera cameras enable surveillance of very large expanses. All cameras are fitted with several lenses (the models used at Billund have 14), each of which covers a section of the area of interest. These ‘picture squares’ are joined together seamlessly by software to form one large picture that can be viewed comfortably by the watchman in the control room.
The system delivers detailed images of the entire coverage area, taken at a rate of 25 pictures per second. Up to about 175 metres, the image is so sharp that, for example, a car number plate can be read with ease. This means that one multifocal sensor system Panomera camera can replace several conventional HD cameras.
“In our case, all we needed to cover a vast expanse for almost 7000 parking spaces was one mast with four Panomera cameras trained in different directions. According to our calculations, with a conventional solution we would have needed a total of seven masts and about 30 cameras. So it goes without saying that we have realised substantial savings with regard to excavation and embedding work, cable laying, camera maintenance and so on,” Holm continues.
This also represents a great improvement for the watchman sitting in the APCOA control room in one of the car park buildings.
“We can track a vehicle or an individual without having to change cameras, and we can zoom in on an incident without losing the general view of things that are happening elsewhere. With the conventional, controllable cameras, there was always the risk that we would be concentrating on one location and would have no pictures when something happened somewhere else. Now, we always have pictures of the entire area, which is a major advantage – this makes us much less vulnerable.”
The police have already used video material from APCOA several times, and in one case even the staff of Billund airport looked at material relating one incident (although this turned out to be a false alarm), and both said how impressed they were with the quality of the surveillance.
Integration with other cameras
Of course, the new cameras can be used in conjunction with existing Dallmeier products. “We still have a large number of older cameras in operation, the oldest date back to 2002. We have cameras at every barrier installation, for example, in case someone forgets to pay, and at the ticket dispensing machines in case anyone needs help. And we also have more than 1200 spaces inside the car park buildings, and these have to be watched too,” says Holm.
In yet another innovation, APCOA has installed a Panomera that takes in the frontage of the entire garage complex opposite the terminal building. “We would have had to set up four cameras at different locations to do the same job as this one Panomera. Consequently, installation and setup were much simpler here too; we only have to watch one picture, which also happens to be of much better quality.”
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