The Maddalena archipelago is a group of islands north-east of Sardinia, off the Emerald Coast, a popular destination thanks to its natural beauty and unspoiled emerald waters. Established in 1996, the National Park is strictly protected by environmental heritage laws. The archipelago is famous for the amazing rock carved by the wind. La Maddalena is the main island.

The ambitious total IP video system, which aims to protect the marine and coastal environment of La Maddalena, distinguishes itself for its charming locations and the singularity of the challenges it has faced and the relevance of current issues at stake.

IP video system and mobile IP cameras

The Ministry of Transport and Harbour Office requested action on two different fronts: video surveillance of a vast area that includes sea, houses, wharves and surrounding docks, plus the monitoring of maritime traffic in the park area. The tender’s specifications required an IP video system installed on the La Maddalena island consisting of a control room located in the ancient tower in the Guardia Vecchia suburb, and a remote system installed at Punta Chiara. To control the traffic on the sea areas which are not visible from the island it was essential to install mobile IP cameras in various spots.

The Rome security distribution company Italtec and the Make Security installation company were called upon to design and build the system using Panasonic and Videotec products, while the software was developed by Milan-based company Essai. The technologies used are all cutting-edge latest generation and the works were completed in full compliance with all applicable standards and regulations.

Since the natural location is so impervious, a considerable number of difficulties were encountered in the implementation phase, such as the transportation of site equipment or the lack of electricity, a problem resolved by using photovoltaic panels, capable of guaranteeing a week of independent power even without the sun. This service was ensured by using low-consumption products only, along with Videotec pan-tilt systems which have zero consumption levels when inactive.

The video system installed on the La Maddalena island is composed of two network video recorders and about a dozen Panasonic video cameras.

IP68 housings and pan-tilt systems for camera protection

Videotec IP68 housings and pan-tilt systems were installed to protect and handle the cameras; the latter are made from polished stainless steel designed to withstand the most severe environments and developed specifically for the offshore market, industrial use and any type of environment where external agents are highly corrosive and aggressive, such as at sea. Furthermore, the accurate mechanical construction and reliable motors reduce the need for maintenance even in situations of intense mechanical stress. This is an essential condition in sites which are difficult to reach like the Maddalena archipelago. Moreover, these devices are equipped with wipers to ensure clear viewing in all weather conditions.

Given the need for accurate sea patrol systems, the pan-tilt systems were equipped with ‘two-way telemetry’, an ad hoc application developed by Italtec which displays not only the video recording on the monitor but also the geographic reference coordinates.

Only a few months have passed since the work was completed but it is already possible to draw a positive balance. There is not a stretch of coastline or a portion of sea that escapes the widespread patrol systems, which are capable of transmitting images that are so clear and precise that it is possible to read the licence plate of a ship two miles away.

The anomalous events detected by the system so far have mainly referred to distress calls by boats in difficulty. In such cases, the accuracy of the shots is so high that the operator was able to aim the camera exactly in the direction where the call was being made and watch what was actually happening. But illegal situations that may occur are numerous, from encroachment by ships to the passage of oil tankers discharging pollutants into the environment.

The example set by La Maddalena may serve to convince other marine parks to adopt the same tools and technologies.