High-tech cameras installed to monitor Gold Coast waterways this weekend

The Gold Coast waterways are about to be monitored by high-tech equipment, to better understand exactly how they’re used.

10 high-definition smart cameras are getting installed before the busiest weekend of the year for the Gold Coast waters: The Australia Day long weekend.

Eventually, there will be 20 cameras in place, all transmitting data back to the Queensland University of Technology (QUT).


They’re expected to track the number of vessels using the water, the size of vessels, their speed, and whether or not the captains and crew are behaving themselves.

CEO of the Gold Coast Waterways Authority Hal Morris says they already know a lot about how the waterways are being used, but as they become more and more popular, this sort of technology will take their knowledge to the next level.

“It’s important because to successfully plan for the future we need to understand the impacts population growth and rising boat ownership are having so that we can plan for these changes, protect the environment and ensure locals and visitors continue to enjoy safe access to our beautiful waterways city,” Mr Morris said.

QUT Project Manager, Associate Professor James McGree, says the cameras will take continuous photographs at their locations at all times of the week and in all weather conditions.

“We will be using image analysis to automatically process these photographs and advanced machine learning methods to understand what features of the images can be used to identify vessel type and determine the number of users.

“From this, we will develop a statistical model that will incorporate additional information about, for example, weather and marine incidents, to provide an indicator of future patterns of waterways use,” Mr McGree said.

The project will also investigate whether computers can be trained to recognise vessel registration numbers to help with the identification of speeding vessels.

QUT research team installing cameras | PHOTO Supplied by Gold Coast Waterways Authority

Hal Morris with James McGree and Fiona Lamari from QUT research team | PHOTO Supplied by Gold Coast Waterways Authority