Harris Providing real-time access to traffic camera network for hyper-local weather info: open access during Florence
Hurricane Florence is closing in on the South and North
Carolina Coast. The storm is strong and massive and shows a potential to
stall. Optical Satellites and aerial assets aren’t much use during a storm and during
the clearing because of thick cloud cover. Harris Corporation is making its
Helios Traffic Camera platform available for the duration of the storm. Login
information can be obtained here helios.earth/explore/login
Helios provides a map interface to select cameras, some are
video, some static photos every few minutes. As Florence impacts the area, it
is expected that traffic will increase on certain routes at the same time water
begins pooling, and poor visibility from heavy rain and wind related debris
also increases. With the Helios network, provided the camera and communication
networks are still functioning, responders, law enforcement, residents, and
news organizations can get real time feedback on conditions or obstructions.
Below is a zoomed in image of the Myrtle Beach area. You can
see the camera I’ve accessed with the Blue Pin. I’ve set the back drop to
satellite to see the surrounding context. I can see the current conditions,
which are still pleasant, at Myrtle Beach Pier 14 at 4:20 local time September
Here zoomed out, we can see there are more cameras available in urban areas. I’ve
clicked one on the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge in Charleston, and traffic is
moving well at this point.
Florence has made a shift to the south, parts of North Carolina had already evacuated
and you can see there is no traffic near Kitty Hawk, NC (I saw one truck go
through after observing for a while).
bottom line is, Helios can provide contextual information to first responders,
broadcasters conveying situational awareness, residents trying to determine if
their route home is flooded, or confirming evacuations are proceeding.
Bringing together these cameras in real time is no easy task, but the Helios
interface aims to make it easy to understand weather at the level of a street
corner. In these types of situations, it is hyperlocal weather and not
regional forecast, the is the information needed for on on-the-ground