I have had a bit of interest in this over the past two years but it has never gone anywhere. The Galapagos Islands and Falklands Islands are two further origin places where there has been interest in locating nature web cams with remote control.
The technology is not the problem. There are several SCPC modem
choices. My choice is Vipersat CDM-570L
. Camera technology is also well proven with many remote CCTV systems around - mostly connected to high bandwidth cable or cheap optic fibre - of course.
It is the monthly cost for the satellite capacity
that is the problem and who will pay for it. Price example is $600 per month, or pro rata, for a 95kbit/s video uplink and 5kbit/s remote control channel from the large dish VSAT hub teleport earth station. Picture quality, resolution, lines, frame rate etc. are all variables - with corresponding effect on price over a very wide range. Using the 100kbit/s above you might have a rapid real time update of a tiny image or one large high resolution update image every few minutes.
One idea was to use a 10kbit/s outlink to control 6 cameras and then share a 1 Mbit/s return link for the images, with selected cameras getting a bigger share of the 1 Mbit/s bit rate when something interesting was happening. Total budget for the satellite would need to be $6000 per month. The North Berwick Sea Bird Centre already does something like this with remote microwave link cameras on the Bass Rock
, Isle of May
to watch the puffins, sea birds, seals etc.
Once we've got the images back to the teleport we could either feed them out via the internet to one fixed viewing site or load them onto a server so anyone can see them on the internet. In the latter case the cost of feeding video to the internet need to be solved. I had an experiment a year ago when I did something like this and had so much interest that my server was putting out several Mbit/s average ( max 20 Mbit/s !), which I could not afford.