Smart cameras to help stop overcrowding at the seaside

A network of 250 smart cameras will be used to monitor the size of crowds at the seaside and in Flemish art cities this summer. Information gleaned in this way will allow the authorities to intervene in time when it gets too busy.

The network is only one of a raft of measures intended to stem the spread of coronavirus on the Flemish coast. Citymesh, a business from Bruges (West Flanders), is erecting 250 smart cameras the length and breadth of the Flemish Riviera.  The cameras are equipped with software that allows them to draw virtual lines on the images.  People crossing these virtual lines are counted.  In this way resorts and the police can keep tabs on numbers.  Belgian rail too will have access to the information.

The West Flemish Tourism Authority says it wants to offer people a splendid summer at the seaside: “Health is important.  That’s why we wish to map out the places that get too busy.”

Citymesh’s Mitch De Geest says nobody should be worried about privacy: “We use camera technology to analyse the pictures, but the pictures aren’t forwarded to the police or anyone else.  Nobody else has access to the pictures.  We are simply supplying information on the size of crowds at the seaside”.

Still, Belgium's data privacy authority intends to probe the matter.

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