Developing the C# aerostat thermal surveillance software to run in the base station for the Owls Surveillance aerostat has required a thorough understanding of the GiGE Vision protocol handling within Microsoft Windows.

C# is a flexible development language, but bouncing around on the back of an inflatable boat running on a ruggedised touch screen PC, wrapped in a Peli-Case whilst managing video streams broadcast from a balloon tethered above is still a challenge. But that’s exactly what the ground station software developed for Owls Surveillance is designed to do.

owls_caseThe HAWK OWL™ is an aerostat based surveillance system using wireless technology to transmit images and meta-data from up to six cameras mounted on an aerostat balloon. The cameras can be in either the visual spectrum or infra-red range dependent on operational requirements.

To deliver this information to the operator in an intuitive way Owls Surveillance asked Winchester Innovation to develop the ground station software. Our experience in C# windows development coupled with our experience creating cutting edge software and data logging environments place us perfectly to work with the HAWK OWL™ hardware.OWLS_Helikite_1-1000

The ground station software integrates:

  • Streaming multiple (x4 or x6 depending on configuration) live video streams over WiFi
  • Streaming Thermoteknix thermal video over WiFi using the GiGE Vision standard
  • Pan and zoom video using touch screen gestures
  • Capturing still images from the streams for storage to disk
  • Capture and display telemetry data (height, direction, location etc) to the display
  • Logging GPS data from the balloon to the ground station

C# and the Windows .NET framework is the perfect platform to build applications for the PC environment. There are numerous libraries available that allow developers to rapidly deploy common technologies onto their platform. The development environment is excellent and is just one of the reasons why the Winchester Innovation likes to work on these types of project.