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Is the Cam Down?

Discuss the Orpen (KNP), Satara (KNP), Addo and Nossob (KTP) webcams
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Danie
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Re: Is the Cam Down?

Unread post by Danie » Tue Feb 17, 2009 5:44 pm

bishop3006 wrote:What the....!!! :slap: I just did a traceroute as well - are the SANParks websites hosted in the US?? :huh:

Yes it is in hosted in Los Angeles, USA - :redface: - not too proud to say that but to carry the traffic of around 1Tb data per month via our web site is currently not very cost effective to host in our country (sunny South Africa)! It has been in LA from the beginning!

But that does not make any difference to the peace and tranquility you are hopefully experiencing via our website, forums and webcams - our small windows on nature in our beautiful national parks! Everything you see on the webcams are still 'made in Africa; Sunny South Africa!' :D
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Re: Is the Cam Down?

Unread post by Danie » Thu Oct 08, 2009 7:13 am

Aussie ranger wrote:why is the cam facing the house :hmz:

Now and then I just want to show the actual surroundings as well. In this case Satara Restaurant/Reception area where you can actually see our visitors on cam often.

On viewing the image, many of our valued guests opens a 'file' in their minds of....wish I can be there now (I feel that way this morning! :) .... as the image is familiar to lots of our guests who have been there in person before.....the smell of nature, the starlings doing their thing in that area, the sounds of nature, the whole package....I really I wish I could be there now!

Forgive me if I get carried away a bit! :)

It also shows the proximity of the webcam to Satara Rest camp
:)
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Is the Cam Down?

Unread post by Danie » Thu Nov 19, 2009 9:37 am

Lionspoon wrote:Danie, could that have applied for Satara as well? I found the cam there a bit dodgy as well over the last week or so when the rain occured. :hmz:

Hi Lionspoon!

No, the problem at Satara is not power but limited bandwidth. The "Please check back soon" green slide is displayed when the webserver can't 'see' the webcam (the webserver fetches the images directly from the webcam).

If it can't get the image due to line down/camera not available, the "please check back soon" green slide is displayed to our viewers automatically. The data line to Satara is very slow and over utilised and the telecom company can't give us more bandwidth! During certain times of the day (depending on the other data traffic on the same data line), the cam might not be 'reachable' due to congestion on the data line as we give preference to our business traffic first (our physical guests at Satara checking in, paying per credit card, making reservations, etc.)

There is light at the end of the tunnel as we are moving to a new data comms system in KNP in the near future which will have enough bandwidth - the initial planning is looking good!

So we have to live this happening now and then at the moment as there is no other viable option (apart from putting the webcam at Satara via satellite on its own which is quite expensive!)

I hope this looooong explanation helps!
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Re: Is the Cam Down?

Unread post by Danie » Thu Jan 28, 2010 3:49 pm

The problem at Orpen is the wireless access point (WAP) sitting in a portion of the reception building at Orpen where power problems are being experienced at the moment. The electrician was on site today but the problem has not yet been resolved.

While he was there, he cleaned the perspex cover of the outdoor housing and replaced a circuit breaker at the webcam itself which has given problems before as well. So the webcam itself is fine but the receiver in the camp (about 100m away) is not able to receive the signal to relay to webcam server in the USA because of the power problem.

To confirm: yes, all 3 webcams are linked to the same webcam server.
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Re: Is the Cam Down?

Unread post by Danie » Sat Feb 20, 2010 1:27 pm

Satara is down at the moment due to some backup satellite communication equipment being installed for our normal operations at the reception office.

We might add the webcam to that as well depending on the bandwidth availability via satellite at Satara. Our main aim is to ensure our booking and checking in operations are running smoothly even during data line outages that we get frequently at Satara.

Unfortunately we can't link the whole of Satara (all the users) via satellite - it is too expensive and it will be too slow!

Our ICT outsource company engineer is currently on site at Satara to make this all happen automatically in case of an outage. The webcam link is unfortunately affected by this as well - please bear with us!
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Re: Is the Cam Down?

Unread post by Danie » Fri Mar 26, 2010 6:34 pm

I know, but today is already the 26th? Hmmm...wonder how long it takes to replace a cable?

Hi Peter

In the middle of the desert, most technical things are a challenge. If the webcam was in Pretoria or Johannesburg, it would have been much easier. But hey, who wants to see traffic on a webcam ;) We want the webcam there in the middle of nowhere to give our virtual viewers a window on nature!

It is a specialised cable with special connectors, etc that is not available in Nossob or even Upington (which is the closest town around 300km away). It goes from Nossob to Twee Rivieren (around 170km if I remember correctly), then to Upington via Kimberley with courier company and must then be repaired/replaced depending what the verdict is from the technical guys in Johannesburg).

Then it must go back to Nossob again via the same route and must be installed at Nossob.

The latest feedback I have from the tech team is that they have not received the faulty cable in Johannesburg yet (as at 09:51 this morning).

Will give feedback as soon as we have a better idea and timelines on the exact problem and spares availability.

So yes, to replace High Tech stuff in Africa does take time! Enjoy Orpen and Satara webcams for now!
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Re: Is the Cam Down?

Unread post by Danie » Mon Apr 26, 2010 4:33 pm

Jungle Junkie wrote:Hi Danie
Thanks for the update!
Perhaps we should know what this company's name is? So we can NOT use them in future, or are they locked into a contract and that is why they do not care about the service they give? :shock:

JJ

It is over a month - The cable was removed on the 19th March, which I am sure you are well aware of?


I share your frustration. The same on this side! A bit of history:

The cable was taken from Nossob to Twee Rivieren with a lift and was shipped from Upington on 24 March 2010 14:40 (scanned) with an overnight courier service. It arrived in Johannesburg on 25 March 2010 23:26 (scanned in). The 1st notification was sent to the company (to whom the cable was addressed) on 25 March 2010 at 11:55.

To cut a looong story short, the cable was only fetched by the company from their post office on 22 April 2010 11:33 :evil: (that was after we really kicked up some dust!).

The details above I took directly from the track and trace facility of the courier service's website using the tracking number supplied to me by my colleague in Twee Rivieren who sent it via courier service.

So let's see if they will deliver as promised! Unfortunately I can't give you the company's name (for ethical reasons). If they slip up again, I might give a hint! :)
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Re: Is the Cam Down?

Unread post by Danie » Thu Apr 28, 2011 3:32 pm

Image


This is what had to be replaced! The day-night switch was broken and caused leakage on the electrical system which kept on tripping...

It was sorted it out today! (Thanks Albert (Satara electrician) and Clifford (IT Technician from Skukuza) for fixing that!)

Thanks for your patience! Happy camming!

Orpen's data line is down again ..so Orpen webcam is down again as well.. The normal operations at Orpen is done via satellite at the moment (excluding the webcam :cry: )
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Re: Is the Cam Down?

Unread post by Danie » Tue Jan 24, 2012 9:25 pm

Dear Webcammers

Orpen & Satara Webcams temporarily taken off the air/website. Read the full topic here!

I have created a separate topic for it where feedback and progress will be given as well.
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Re: Is the Cam Down?

Unread post by Danie » Fri Mar 02, 2012 9:51 pm

Orpen Webcam's Flood Light 'adjusted' by a critter

Image
As you can see, a friendly critter (baboon/vulture/ibis/unknown) moved/tilted the flood light so that it almost shines backwards :lol: The bad reflections you see on the images, are that from the flood light hitting the perspex dome enclosure of the webcam in stead of the water hole! :o

We apologise for that and will try and trace the culprit for disturbing your viewing pleasure when it moved/tilted the flood light :redface: He/she might face disciplinary action by the forumites and might be sentenced to at least another 3 years or more in Kruger National Park :naughty:

I'll contact my colleagues at Orpen and ask the maintenance team to adjust the flood light again and tighten it!

During the day you will not see the difference in the picture quality but it is affecting you viewing pleasure badly after dark!

(thanks to Foxie for capturing the image when I moved the cam to see what is wrong!)
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Danie Pretorius
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Re: Is the Cam Down?

Unread post by vinkie » Fri Mar 09, 2012 5:36 pm

Image

I wonder what a Monkey would do if they would see these wires :hmz:

To me it seems tempting to play with them :mrgreen:
Live life on the edge but be careful not to fall off! :wink:


Our 2013 Trip Report: Vinkie and Apex Predator back in the bushveld

:dance: Planning our 2017 trip to Kruger National Park or Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park :dance:

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Re: Is the Cam Down?

Unread post by Danie » Fri Mar 09, 2012 5:49 pm

:) I was zooming in to check the condition of the wiring! It seems if a problem might be developing with the wiring at the flood light but at this stage all wires still look insulated and per safety standards and regulations, there is an earth leakage and circuit breakers protecting the whole installation (webcam, flood light and power supply feeding the webcam) at the installation itself (......including protecting nosy critters around with the wiring!)

Happy camming!
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Re: Is the Cam Down?

Unread post by Danie » Wed May 16, 2012 9:14 pm

johanmom wrote:Danie,

Thanks for your whole team for keeping the cams going. I am a new member and have not read all the posts. The cam at Addo is taking shots at different angles. Is this possible for the Satara can as well. A few days ago a hiena was lying at the adge of the picture and it would have been nice to see a full image

Hi johanmom

Apologies for the late reply! This one slipped me! :redface:

It is 100% possible to do as Satara and Nossob are the two fixed cams left with no 'touring' or auto-programming on this camera (Nossob the same).

The camera at Satara has the same capabilities as the ones at Orpen and Addo (and Nossob). That can be done as you requested but I think we should get the feeling of the rest of the forumites and cammers as well.

Bear in mind that the 'touring' of the camera (auto-moving on programmed presets) will make the current time-lapse footage created of Satara cam not usable!

Find the poll here and vote/air your view! :think:
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Re: Is the Cam Down?

Unread post by Danie » Wed Sep 19, 2012 2:01 am

timbo wrote:Hey guys, if anyone is able to get the cam operational, there is a kill near the waterhole as far as it sounds on the latest sightings thread in fbook.

Hyenas took down a buff and now there are lions on the kill.

Hopefully someone can get it fixed

Hi Timbo!

Thanks for the information! Much appreciated! The link to Satara is unfortunately a big headache for us and it is not easy to fix remotely and must be fixed by the telecom company! :evil:

Having given the bad news, something that might make you feel a bit better:
The kill you are referring to actually took place next to the fence opposite the Frankel Guest house (Satara) where there is also a small waterhole (not the one where our webcam is). This is on the north-western corner of Satara Rest Camp (close to the camping area as well). Our webcam is at the waterhole on the south-eastern side of the camp. So despite the fact that there is a kill and some lion activity at the moment next to the fence at Satara, even if the the link to Satara (webcam) was working, you would not have seen the kill as it took place roughly about 300/400 metres (following the fence) from the waterhole where our webcam is!

See the map (not to scale) of Satara Rest Camp here. Note where Frankel Guest House (top right corner) is compared to the reception/shop/cafeteria almost on the other side of the camp (bottom of map). The webcam is around 100 metres south-east from this part of the fence (opposite the reception area/restaurant/cafeteria)

We might have been able to see some of the predators visiting the waterhole on webcam to quench their thirst but that is also very unlikely as the kill took place next to another waterhole a few metres away (not on cam :( )

The telecom company have almost completed the upgrading of telecoms microwave infrastructure feeding Satara (and other sites in Kruger)....better data services and better bandwidth soon with increased reliability we hope as well!

Happy camming!
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Re: Is the Cam Down?

Unread post by Danie » Wed Jan 09, 2013 10:31 am

You will notice that the Satara webcam goes 'down' several times a day at the moment.

The problem is between Satara rest camp itself (base) and the webcam at the water hole. There is a wireless connection running (around 100m) and that gets interrupted now and then. I suspect that a shrub or tree/branch has grown and might be obscuring the clear LOS (line of sight) of this link causing these interruptions. It might also be the wireless transmitter linked to the webcam at the water hole itself. This equipment is standing in the harsh African sun and must be able to handle it as well :)

We are looking into the problem to resolve it.

Happy camming!
Regards

Danie Pretorius
Senior Manager: IT Infrastructure
South African National Parks (SANParks)


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Addo
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