Archive of October 2009


Sun 18 Oct

Fun with webcams

Back in middle school (or was it early high school?), I read an issue of 2600 that had a letter describing a technique to view a bunch of publicly accessible webcams worldwide. It turns out that this particular brand of webcam had a web-based viewer, and moreover that this web-based viewer had a unique URL string. All you had to do to get a list of these cameras was to do a Google search for "inurl:$THAT_UNIQUE_URL_STRING" and you'd get a bunch of results, all with cameras you could view and some that could even be controlled. Most turned out to be in Japan for some reason, and it was really cool to be able to watch busy city streets and trains from half a world away.

Fast forward a few years. I was recently using a webcam at my university that overlooks a construction site next to the CS building. One of my friends showed it to me over the summer, and it's been pretty fun to use it to watch the construction progress (as well as watch the workers eating lunch, driving trucks, etc). It hit me that this brand of webcam probably had the same "vulnerability" of a unique URL string that could be found on Google. Sure enough, it did:

http://www.google.com/#q=LvAppl/lvappl.htm

There seems to be a bit more geographic diversity in camera placement for this particular breed. I have found several in Japan, but others that are definitely closer to home (based on timezone). Here are a few interesting ones:

If you find any more interesting ones, leave a note in comments!