Video Section in Revised Airport Security Guidance Mostly Untouched

The chapter on video surveillance includes a section on camera resolution.
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An updated version of a document providing “standards and guidelines” for airport access control systems includes a chapter on video, but that section remains the same—except for some minor changes—as the current standard, says the panel conducting the revision.

Under a Federal Aviation Administration contract, the RTCA—a private, not-for-profit corporation that develops consensus-based recommendations regarding communications, navigation, surveillance and air traffic management system issues—convened Special Committee 224, which revised sections of “DO-230B” the “Integrated Security Standard for Airport Access Control.”

Special Committee 224 was established Sept. 15, 2010 at the request of the Airport Consultants Council to revise DO-230B and address expected changes to federal credentialing standards and practices at airports.

However, while much of the committee’s work on revising DO-230B has been focused on defining the new forms of “personal identity verification” (PIV) cards for non-federal uses as well as the PIV compatible and interoperable credentials, a comprehensive overhaul of the document is not required, according to the committee.

In a reflection of that opinion, the chapter on video surveillance was slightly revised, said James McGuire, who is with TranSecure International, Inc., and who led the video chapter workgroup. The chapter originally went from “application” of video surveillance to the “technology,” and McGurie said he reversed those sections so the chapter goes from “technology” to “applications.”

The chapter on video surveillance includes a section on camera resolution, and McGurie said those sections where moved around, along with text and illustrations. “I reordered the chapter,” he said, adding, “The first thing I did was move the technology upfront.” Among the technology issues addressed included the issue of spectrums—the visual spectrum and the infrared spectrum.

In addition, McQuire said the document needs further explanation about camera resolution, especially in regard to pixels. “I went into what resolution means, and why it’s an information problem,” he said. That “you might be able to detect something with five or seven pixels, but to identify it, you’re going to need five times that number of pixels,” he said. “This is really the important piece of this discussion, (because) it takes you a lot more information to identify something than you do to find something,” he said.

The revisions to DO-230B are scheduled for completion in June 2011, but a more intensive rewrite of the document is planned for 2012, according to the committee. Because the document will be revised in “a year or two,” McGuire had his workgroup avoid making any substantive changes to the chapter on video surveillance. “The chapter is video surveillance, so we described it in terms of surveillance, and not access control,” he said. “We spent a lot of the words explaining why pictures equal (airport) access,” he said. “We expanded the explanation because it’s an integrated system, that has all that stuff liking together,” he said. “Otherwise, we’re leaving it exactly as it is until 2012.”