Do you watch them because they show you the fresh dump of snow your friends in Rossland have? Or do you tune in because they let you see the open roads and blue skies the entire length of your upcoming road trip?
The BC HighwayCam Program began with two cams on the Coquihalla and one near Whistler and, believe it or not, these cameras were maintained manually. That meant that when something went wrong with a camera, ministry electrical staff in Burnaby had to get into their car and drive to where the camera was in order to fix the problem. We’ve come a long way. The webcams can be found on the DriveBC site and we hope you check in often to find current road conditions.
Now, we remotely monitor more than 450 BC HighwayCam locations throughout the province, with additional locations constantly being identified and installed.
Our little friends up high in the sky make it easy to Know Before You Go. This is the absolute wonder of the webcam system. With one click, you can see exactly what conditions lie ahead and giving you the option to decide whether to go, or not to go. No doubt, countless accidents have been avoided and lives saved thanks to this technology. Industry and trucking companies also use the highway webcams to monitor travel routes in order to move goods more efficiently. And saving time means saving money, which we all benefit from.
Here are some interesting facts about BC HighwayCams:
- Some of our webcams use solar power. In fact, we recently converted our Kootenay Cam to solar power and Cowichan Cam uses solar power year round. Not all cams can use solar power as most cameras require a hydro connection to power internal heaters to keep lenses from icing or fogging in winter.
- Most BC HighwayCams have a weather information link which takes you to continuously updated route weather reports from Environment Canada. Some cams even provide detailed weather data collected from nearby ministry weather stations. Interested in pavement temperature? We have that too.
- All images captured are displayed at a low resolution. This allows the viewer to assess the surface conditions of the road, including traffic volume and weather, but does not reveal personal or private information, such as license plates, to the general public.
- Did you know you can set up your own gallery of webcam images? The MyCams feature on the BC HighwayCams website allows you to set up your own page of favourites.
So, whether you watch BC HighwayCams because they help you feel better about where you live in our beautiful province, or if you use them to plan your next road trip; we hope that you understand a little bit more about those tough little devices, working hard through wind and rain and sleet and snow – just for you.