WOW now supports webcams, which you can connect to your site to display images and time-lapse videos. Webcams are shown as a separate tab on your site dashboard, enabling you to go back and view all of your previously uploaded images.

You can also view your images in a time-lapse video by using the time-lapse option within the webcam tab.

WOW FTP Webcam setup

This guide describes how to setup FTP webcams on WOW for FTP servers.

Requirements:

If using your own FTP server, then:

  1. an FTP server, to which you have access to
  2. in this FTP server, the webcam images should be available in their own separate folder, where no other files are put (i.e. only the webcam images are uploaded there)

Otherwise, it is possible to have the photos stored on WOW's FTP Server.

Acceptable extensions for images: jpg, png, jpeg, tif, jfif, bmp, tiff and gif

Every time an update happens, WOW will look for the newest photo in the specified FTP server's specified folder (a photo is considered "newest" if it has the most recent modification time). During the first update, it grabs whichever photo is the newest. And in subsequent processing, WOW will check the newest image at that point: if it has a modification date that is more recent than the last time an update happened, it is retrieved (i.e. if the newest image has a modification date greater than the last update's date/time).

Example:

  1. Let's say our FTP server is available at ftp://example.com. We might have a folder in this FTP server by the name "webcam_photos" and only the webcam's images will be uploaded there. Suppose we upload "webcam_image.jpg" there.
  2. During the first update, WOW grabs the newest image in here, which will be "webcam_image.jpg" since that's the only file in the folder. Suppose this update happened on 1 January 2017, at 2:00:00 PM.
  3. At subsequent updates, WOW will look in the folder for a newer image (i.e. modification date of at least 1 January 2017, 2:00:01 PM or newer, because the update happened at 2:00:00 PM). Suppose we have an image "webcam_image2.jpg", with a modification date of 1 January 2017, 2:05:00 PM and it is uploaded there. Then, the next update will retrieve "webcam_image2.jpg", because 2:05:00 PM is greater than 2:00:00 PM.
  4. Step 3's "steps" are repeated on every update: whenever an image is uploaded that has a modification date larger than the latest update, then it will be retrieved (retrieving the one with the most recent modification date, if there are multiple such images). This also works if an image is overwritten in the FTP folder (as overwriting a file updates the modification date).

Setup

The details that should be entered for an FTP webcam depend on

  1. if you wish to store the photos on WOW's FTP Servers, or
  2. if you have your own FTP Server

Storing photos on WOW's FTP Servers

  • Type: "Ftp"
  • Ftp Options: "I want to use WOW FTP server"
  • Url: this is the URL you will need to use to access WOW's FTP Servers. This is filled out automatically.
  • Ftp Folder: this is filled out automatically.
  • User Name and Password: enter a user name and password combination of your choosing - this is what you will need to use when accessing the FTP server. Please note if you have more than one webcam you will need to generate a separate user name for each of them. If the selected user name is already taken by you or another user a message will indicate so when creating the webcam.

After saving the webcam, please wait a few moments before accessing it - as the WOW FTP Server will generate access credentials for the user name and password that was provided for the webcam.

Example:

  • Type: Ftp
  • Ftp Options: I want to use WOW FTP server
  • Url: <filled out automatically>
  • Ftp Folder: <filled out automatically>
  • User Name: <the unique user name of your choosing that you wish to use when accessing the WOW FTP Server>
  • Password: <the password of your choosing that you wish to use when accessing the WOW FTP Server, in combination with the above user name>

Storing photos on your own FTP server

  • Type: "Ftp"
  • Url: the FTP server's hostname or IP address. This should be entered without a protocol (e.g. ftp://) at the beginning and without a "/" (forward slash) at the end.
  • Ftp Folder: the folder on the FTP server where the newest image should be retrieved from. This should be an absolute path, i.e. path from the root folder.
  • User Name: a user name that allows at least read-only access to the specified folder on the specified FTP server.
  • Password: the password that allows at least read-only access to the specified folder on the specified FTP server.

Example:

Given one of the previous examples, we can fill the details in as follows:

  • Type: Ftp
  • Ftp Options: I want to use my own or other FTP server
  • Url: example.com
    The following are NOT acceptable: example.com/, ftp://example.com, ftp://example.com/
  • Ftp Folder: /webcam_photos/
  • User Name: demo
  • Password: password

This assumes the intended images of the /webcam_photos/ folder on example.com's FTP server are accessible as user "demo" with password "password".

Viewing your webcams

To view your webcams, you can follow the steps below:

  • Login to your account.
  • Click "My Sites" from the top menu.
  • Choose the appropriate site from the "Select your site" dropdown list if you have multiple.
  • Go to Webcams tab. You can see all of your webcams displayed here.

Creating or editing a webcam properties

To create a new webcam or edit an existing one's properties:

  • Go to the Webcams tab on your site's dashboard. (Follow steps on Viewing your webcams section)
  • Click "Edit Webcams". This page shows you the list of webcams of this site that you can manage.
  • To create a new webcam, click Create New. To edit one, click Edit button on the proper row.
  • If this webcam is in a different location than the site, you can adjust it here.
  • Enter the name of the webcam. This is shown to public, so it should be descriptive enough.
  • Enter the update frequency in minutes. Minimum is 15 minutes.
  • If webcam's feed is accesible via an HTTP url, choose HTTP and please enter it here. WOW supports JPG, JPEG, GIF, PNG as file formats.
  • If webcam's feed is accesible via a FTP url, choose FTP.
    • If you host webcam's FTP server on your own or if you know FTP server's credentials, please select "I want to use my own FTP server". Then enter as follows:
      • Url: The root url of the FTP server. Example: "ftp.wow.metoffice.gov.uk".
      • Ftp Folder: The folder that webcam pushes the data. Example: "webcams/xyz/images".
      • Username: FTP server's username. Leave empty if anonymous.
      • Password: FTP server's password. Leave empty if anonymous.
    • If you wish to use WOW's own FTP server, please select "I want to use WOW FTP server". Then enter as follows:
      • Username: Please enter a username for your FTP server credentials. Required.
      • Password: Please enter a password for your FTP server credentials. Required.

Configuring TinCam

If your webcam doesn't support direct internet connection, you can use TinCam to push data to an HTTP or an FTP server. It requires a computer with webcam attached to it and it needs to run always.

  • Connect your webcam to your computer. If it requires drivers, please follow your manufacturer's instructions.
  • Download TinCam from http://www.tincam.com/ and install it on the computer.
  • Open TinCam and choose your webcam.
  • Click Setup, then Setup.
  • Under Auto Capture, please select your trigger method. Suggested trigger is Timer with 15 minute interval.
  • Under Website, select FTP. Enter your FTP server credentials here. If you selected "I want to use WOW FTP server", please enter as follows:
    • FTP Server: Enter the FTP server URL that WOW gave you.
    • Port: 21
    • Username: Enter the username you set when creating this webcam on WOW.
    • Password: Enter the password you set when creating this webcam on WOW.
    • Timeout: 60 seconds.