I’m amazed this hasn’t been standard for years

Ohio prof develops CCTV people-tracker ‘ware • The Register

Davis and Sankaranarayanan’s code works by using a pan-tilt-zoom camera to create a panoramic image of its entire field of view, and then linking each ground pixel in the picture to a georeferenced location on a map. This means that when the camera sees a person or vehicle, the computer also knows in terms of map coordinates where it is looking.

That in turn makes it possible for a new camera to be trained on the target as he/she/it passes out of the first one’s field of view. In this way, a subject can be followed automatically anywhere that the monitoring computer has CCTV coverage. There’s no need for a human operator to manually train cameras around, using up man-hours and sooner or later making a mistake and losing track.

After all, the one thing you know about surveillance cameras is (absent ladders or new construction) the physical location of every pixel in their field of view. You really don’t need pan/tilt for this, it just lets you cover the same volume with fewer cameras.

As Mark Weiser used to say, this is the flip side of virtual reality: instead of making a lousy simulation of reality inside the computer, you make reality into a very good simulation of your database.

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