August 5, 2009
HPWREN collaborated with NPS on an installation in the Santa Monica
By Evan Locke, National Park Service, Southern California
Research Learning Center
Introduction by Susan Teel, Director, Southern California Research
Learning Center, National Park Service
HPWREN assisted the National Park Service at Santa Monica Mountains
National Recreation Area in planning and installing a wireless
connection and web camera in the Santa Monica Mountains. The camera
will monitor fires which typically begin inland and race towards
the ocean in Malibu. Images and video from this camera will provide
data for input to a fire behavior model currently under development.
The web camera will be accessible by the public at the HPWREN ( http://hpwren.ucsd.edu/cameras)
and SCRLC (
http://researchlearningcenter.org/webcams) web pages thus serving
as an educational tool to communicate the importance of fire ecology
to ecosystems in southern California. The wireless link will allow
the Interpretation and Education division to conduct Live Interactive
Virtual Exploration (LIVE) programs and distance education activities
from Paramount Ranch.
Early Wednesday morning, June 24, 2009 HPWREN's Jim Hale met with
Southern California Research Learning Center (SCRLC) Field Programs
Coordinator Evan Locke, and San Diego State University and SCRLC
interns Kelly Lion and Sarina Cassaro at Western Town in the Santa Monica
Mountains National Recreation Area (SMMNRA). The goal for the next couple
of days was to set up Internet connectivity to Castro Crest and install a
web camera. The group surveyed the Paramount Ranch site and decided on a
place to install wireless radios to connect Castro Crest and the Longhorn
building. They then drove up to the Castro peak antenna field and finalized
an installation plan. Later that afternoon, the team investigated the
options for installing a 900 MHz connection from the Longhorn to Western
Town to support a future web camera.
Sarina Cassaro, Jim Hale, Kelly Lion, and Evan Locke at
San Diego State University and NPS Intern Kelly Lion
installs the web camera at Castro Crest.
On Thursday June 25, 2009 Jim, Evan, Kelly, and Sarina prepared the
equipment and temporarily installed a tripod at the south west corner of
the Longhorn. Because the building is a contributing element to the
historic Paramount Ranch landscape we could not permanently affix equipment
to the structure at this time.
The group then drove to the Castro Crest to begin installation of the
equipment. Evan, Sarina, and Kelly constructed a new bracket for the
equipment. Evan secured the stand to the concrete floor inside the building
adjacent to the tower, while the rest of the group assembled the radio and
the cables to provide connectivity. Kelly put on the harness and climbed
fifteen feet up the tower to install the radio and web camera. Kelly
attached the radio and then worked with Jim to adjust the radio and provide
internet connectivity. Once internet connectivity was established the
group returned to Paramount Ranch and adjusted the radio to improve the
internet connection to the Castro tower.
The Castro Peak web camera will be used by Fire Managers at
SMMNRA to observe fires and collect fire behavior data. The staff
and superintendent at SMMNRA have expressed excitement about the
new web camera and are discussing ideas for additional web cameras.