Author Topic: Museum Webcam inquiry  (Read 2631 times)

Ed Lecuyer

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Museum Webcam inquiry
« on: June 16, 2009, 09:38:48 PM »
MODERATORS NOTE:
Museum Webcam inquiry has been converted from the pre-July 2008 WW&F Discussion Forum.
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James Patten wrote:
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We've recently had an inquiry from a member who'd like us to put up a webcam at Sheepscot (maybe a duck's eye view?).

I've never been interested in dealing with webcams because my understanding of them is that they require a dedicated phone which gets almost constant use.

Nevertheless I'd like to hear other people's opinions and experiences with them.  What would it take for us to do this?

Mike Fox replied:
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One good location for such a camera would be at the top of the water tower. Like my photo on NERAIL. http://photos.nerail.org/showpic/?photo=2007101320332215160.jpg&order=byposter&page=2&key=miketrainnut It would give a good overview of the yard.

As for needing one, I think we have enough shutterbugs to be able to do without it
Mike.

Bill Reidy replied:
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Hi James,

Unfortunately, I don't have experience setting up a live webcam, but yes, my understanding is a dedicated phone line would be required.

As much as I like following the on-going progress at the museum, I can't see justifying the expense required to maintain a webcam.  I can always follow the progress through the newsletter, our website, Maine 2-Foot Quarterly and NERail.

Hopefully someone with experience can show us how to set up and maintain a webcam economically.

QUACK!!!

- Bill

gordon cook replied:
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The inquirer must have assumed that there is a lot of exciting activity at the Museum 24/7. Any significant happenings are usually covered by the plethora of digital cameras covering the action.
It's difficult to imagine that there is enough going on to justify even the modest expense and effort required, unless, as James suggested, the ducks and blackflies would serve as entertainment.
Now, maybe if we started a "Sheepscot Station Naturist Society"  .....
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Gawdon

Dave Buczkowski replied:
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Gawdon;
As to your suggestion of a SSNS, keep in mind that our goal is to attract tourists and rail fans. Such a Society made up of Museum members such as myself might tend to repel them more than attract them....
On the serious side, while there might not be much activity for much of the time, a camera might provide some level of security if a member happened to see something amiss, the authorities could be summoned by phone. It would also provide yet another distraction for me at work!
Dave

Stephen Hussar replied:
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A webcam might be a good thing for the general public when they're visiting the museum's Web site, it wouldn't be there solely for the fans.

Steve Zuppa replied:
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I can see it now. "All Alna. All the Time" That should make Rupert Murdock cringe.
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Stewart Rhine replied:
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James reference to the "Ducks Eye View" goes back to about 10 years ago when a certain incident happened to one of our favorite members... It seems he saw a large duck in the woods that magically disappeared.  After the rest of us looked but saw no duck we decided to provide said member with other ducks to see. They were placed on tree stumps and in culverts along the railroad.  The big cast duck in the second floor window is an example.  That duck has watched over the yard for years.

jockellis replied:
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A webcam does seem a bit of overkill for the museum, but it might be fun to have one on a piece of equipment during the spring and fall track meets so that those of us who cannot get up there may see what is going on.
Also, where can I read about the recent track meet. I don't see anything but really nice photos.
Jock Ellis

John McNamara replied:
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Also, where can I read about the recent track meet. I don't see anything but really nice photos.
Jock Ellis

It will be the front page story in your next newsletter, due in your mailbox about 1 June.

gordon cook replied:
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I stand corrected.  IMHO the security idea is an good one, and having lots of eyes watching the property should help protect the property from fires and unwelcome visitors.
It also would be a nice connection to our far-flung and / or less mobile members even if the interesting views occur mainly on the weekends.
Ah yesss, the duck story... I've heard tales of such things in the long lost past.
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Gawdon

Bruce Wilson replied:
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James reference to the "Ducks Eye View" goes back to about 10 years ago when a certain incident happened to one of our favorite members... It seems he saw a large duck in the woods that magically disappeared.  After the rest of us looked but saw no duck we decided to provide said member with other ducks to see. They were placed on tree stumps and in culverts along the railroad.  The big cast duck in the second floor window is an example.  That duck has watched over the yard for years.

The attack on a W.W. & F. Ry. Museum crew member by a duck in Hancock, Maine is the stuff of legends.

Although I never saw the vicious duck, I did see the individual who claimed to have been savaged by the waterfowl. His clothing torn, hair streaked with mud, and the look of terror in his eyes told the story.

I believed him as he told his tale. I also walked down alongside the old Maine Central railroad grade to the tidal inlet where the attack took place. There was a large area of marsh grass that had been flattened out, tall reeds were bent over and evidence of a fierce struggle could be seen in the mud. There were claw marks from the crewman's hands where he tried to crawl up the grade to safety. There were duck feathers everywhere...

And now in the latest issue of Railpace magazine is a report of a Class One freight railroad employee attacked by a goose. Claiming that his employer knew of the goose taking residence up in a railyard, he seeks legal compensation of $75,000 for his injuries.


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gordon cook replied:
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I can see it now. "All Alna. All the Time" That should make Rupert Murdock cringe.

Why, we could call it "Dux News----Feathers and All"

Sorry, couldn't resist, back to work now,...
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Gawdon

elecuyer replied:
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(And back on topic, please.)

Stephen Hussar replied:
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Hmmm...perhaps Aflac would underwrite the cost of the webcam

Stewart Rhine replied:
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Ya know - something about a WEB cam and ducks just go together ...

Ok back on topic.  James original reference to a "ducks eye view" means that the web cam could go up under the roof peak on the north side of the shop.  The view would show most of the yard, the tool house, oil house and water tank.  It would show part of the roundhouse once it is built.  As to yard action, Summer has many visitors showing up during the week.  I have worked at Sheepscot during week and some days there are over a dozen visitors.

A web cam could have two purposes.  (1) It could be tied into the security system and (2) it could be accessed by members and visitors through our museum web site.  A dedicated circuit is required for the equipment.  If we ever get a second phone number at the museum, that could feed the web cam and security system.  We would have to decide if there's enough of a need to justify the expense.

I would log into it a couple of times a week to see if anyone is there and what the weather is like.

Mike Fox replied:
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I still like the idea of one on the watertower. See my original post for a link to my angle. Much more could be seen from that angle, including the house. A "ducks eye view might not be broad enough.
Mike

Stewart Rhine replied:
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Mike,  Your watertank view is a good one.  You are right about getting more in the view looking south, including the station which would not show up in the ducks eye view.   The only problem with a southward view is the low sun angle in winter.  It would shine right into the camera lens.  I have seen web cams who's image gets badly distorted/contrasted by low sun.  I guess the newer, better cameras don't have this problem.  If that's true then the water tank would be a better place for a web cam.

Stephen Hussar replied:
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A web camera mounted up high under the eave on the southeast corner of the newly extended shop building, would give a nice view looking northward -- and would include the station, freighthouse, watertank and mainline.

Quack

fjknight replied:
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That settles it. We need both to get the best possible views.

Frank

Stephen Hussar replied:
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That settles it. We need both to get the best possible views. Frank

I like the watertank location too, but there's no electricity there.


fjknight replied:
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I like the watertank location too, but there's no electricity there.

So who needs power. Here is one possible solution:
http://www.wivisystems.com/pages/battery/web-cam/

Frank

Mike Fox replied:
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Solar powered. Now all that would be needed is a Wireless phoneline. The modem could be put near any power source.

I would suggest some estimates to see how much installing one or two would cost. Also a dedicated phone line was spoken of earlier. Perhaps the cost of that could be figured in as an annual cost. zJust to have an idea what it would cost to keep it going.
Mike
Ed Lecuyer
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