Protecting history at Petra

May 2016 CCTV, Surveillance & Remote Monitoring

An ancient historical and archaeological city in southern Jordan, Petra is famous for its rock-cut architecture and complex water management system. Established as early as 312 BC, its residents’ advanced ability to control flash floods with an array of dams, cisterns and water conduits led to a city that thrived at the centre of a trading network connecting Petra with Gaza in the west, with Bosra and Damascus in the north, with Aqaba on the Red Sea, and across to the Persian Gulf.

Today, as one of the New Seven Wonders of the World, and as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Petra has thrived again as a tourist destination described by Smithsonian magazine as one of the '28 Places to See Before You Die'.

2300-year-old city is under threat

Despite its ability to withstand more than two millennia of floods, earthquakes and invasions, Petra is now more under threat than ever before. This beautiful historical city, known as the Rose City for the alluring colour of the stone from which it is carved, is now visited by such a large number of tourists that its ancient structures and rock-cut architecture are in danger of being damaged – a threat both to the cultural heritage of the region, and to the tourism and economy of the state of Jordan.

Acting against these threats, the Petra National Trust was founded in 1989, and has worked together with international organisations to protect this valuable site. Recently, it was decided that the entire site must be monitored in a way that ensured the protection of the ancient city, while blending in with the natural beauty of the surroundings.

Luminus Technology, Jordan, was brought in to investigate how such a system could be established. Under the leadership of managing director Hamzeh Labadi, Luminus set about looking for surveillance systems that were powerful enough to provide protection across the great site, durable enough to withstand the elements, and discrete enough to blend into the beautiful ancient city of Petra.

Blending coverage with durability

Luminus Technology was searching for a surveillance system that offered advanced surveillance, reliability and discreteness. VIVOTEK’s wide range of multi-purpose and specialist IP cameras, combined with its advanced network video recorders (NVR) and self-developed network video management software, VAST, offered it a way to bring technological advancement back Petra’s natural environment for the first time since the ancient city thrived two millennia ago.

550 VIVOTEK IP network cameras were installed strategically around Petra’s majestic ancient structures and natural valleys. Key among these were the SD8364E for its ability to provide broad coverage at high resolutions while withstanding extreme environments and the FE8180 for its high performance wide-angle views and low-profile design.

To provide the most complete and highest-resolution coverage of Petra’s unique ancient cityscape, Luminus specially selected VIVOTEK’s SD8364E Speed Dome Network Camera. The SD8364E’s 1080p Full HD resolution and 30x optical zoom lens empowers those who keep watch over Petra to see both a broader picture and finer details. To protect the SD8364E against Petra’s desert like conditions and any incidents of attempted vandalism, IP67- and NEMA 4X-rated housing guards the camera body against even the harshest environmental hazards and allows for a wide operating temperature range of between -40°C to 55°C. Boasting WDR Pro technology, the SD8364E can also cope with challenging lighting conditions, an especially useful feature when operating in the highly contrasting network of narrow valleys and caverns that is the ancient city of Petra.

Complementing the SD8364E is the FE8180 Fisheye Network Camera. The FE8180, the world’s smallest fisheye camera with a diameter of only 90 mm, and able to blend into the surroundings of even majestic sites such as Petra, can nonetheless cover broad spaces in detail, acting as an invisible, but powerful eye to keep watch over Petra. A single FE8180 can easily do the job of three to four standard CCTV cameras.

Uniting both types of cameras were the ND8422P and ND8322P NVRs and VIVOTEK’s VAST video management software. These NVRs and VAST enabled the team monitoring and protecting Petra to seamlessly operate and maintain the fleet of cameras. Like the advanced water management system of Petra, surveillance imagery would now flow harmoniously around the great Rose City, protecting and serving its natural beauty for generations.

For more information contact VIVOTEK, +886 282 455 282,,

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