Insider Access: The Birth of a Solar Powered BC HighwayCam

technician working on equipment

Have you ever wondered what it takes to make a BC Highway Cam come to life? It’s a lot more than just a pole and camera. We documented the entire process during an installation at Liard Hwy Junction (on Hwy 97 about 28 km north of Ft. Nelson) this summer, are excited to share some of the shots with you here.

It all starts with a satellite signal. (Or a cellular signal if it is available.) That is how we transmit the image data from highways across the province to DriveBC. The “Webcam Guy” looks at all sorts of things like azimuth, elevation and skew when adjusting the satellite signal (and reception on a cellular network) and once that is done, the real dirty work starts.


The pole, concrete blocks, solar panels, batteries, illuminator and a variety of other bits and pieces required to bring the camera to life are brought to the site and unloaded. Two holes are dug in preparation: one for the pole and one for the electrical cabinet which sits at the base of the pole.


Then the team gets busy wiring the pole and preparing to lift it up and into place. The cam is mounted on the pole, along with the solar panels and then – the big moment – the crane lifts the pole, and very slowly fits it into place on the concrete pad. It is very important that the wires and equipment don’t get damaged during the move.


Once the wires are connected to the electrical box, the team checks electrical connections, network configurations, angles and the focus of the cam to make sure you get the view you need when you are thinking of making your next BC Highway journey.


Now you know!

So, was it what you expected? Heavy lifting and fine tuning are just a few of the things required to bring you your new cam. Check out the end product on DriveBC and see more photos of the installation on our Flickr site. If you have any other questions about BC Highway Cams or anything else we do here at TranBC let us know in the comments below. (Didn’t mean to rhyme there but hey, it works!)

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