# Making a Multi Webcam

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Hello Everyone! I had a quick question. I was wondering if it is possible to make a webcam Letterbox. What if I put a cache and a camera somewhere and said that the cache was in the line of vision from the camreas view? would that count as a "clue?" Thanks! -Dennis

11 minutes ago, dennistubaplayer said:

Hello Everyone! I had a quick question. I was wondering if it is possible to make a webcam Letterbox. What if I put a cache and a camera somewhere and said that the cache was in the line of vision from the camreas view? would that count as a "clue?" Thanks! -Dennis

In my opinion that clue is not specific enough.

28 minutes ago, dennistubaplayer said:

Hello Everyone! I had a quick question. I was wondering if it is possible to make a webcam Letterbox. What if I put a cache and a camera somewhere and said that the cache was in the line of vision from the camreas view? would that count as a "clue?" Thanks! -Dennis

Interesting idea.  If you hid a container or some object with a set of coordinates for another location within the view of a webcam, it could be created as a mystery that requires one to use the camera find the cache, not to take a photo.  The tricky part would be to figure out how to make the use of a gps integral to finding the cache.

Interesting idea.  If you hid a container or some object with a set of coordinates for another location within the view of a webcam, it could be created as a mystery that requires one to use the camera find the cache, not to take a photo.  The tricky part would be to figure out how to make the use of a gps integral to finding the cache.

I've seen webcams that allowed random visitors to the site to control where the camera points and how much it zooms in. Perhaps the webcam could be used to find a plaque or something with the final coordinates on it. So you'd have to point the webcam at the correct object and zoom in, which would tell you where the final is, and then you'd use those GPS coordinates to find the final.

I've seen webcams that allowed random visitors to the site to control where the camera points and how much it zooms in. Perhaps the webcam could be used to find a plaque or something with the final coordinates on it. So you'd have to point the webcam at the correct object and zoom in, which would tell you where the final is, and then you'd use those GPS coordinates to find the final.

Thats's just what I was thinking of.   I consider creating a multi cache that would have the first stage in an elevated location such that the next set of coordinates could only be seen from that location.  Same sort of idea but the "puzzle" could be done from home.

You would still need meaningful GPS use - letterbox hybrid caches are no different from other cache types.  This is easily done if the stage found by searching the webcam view area contains GPS coordinates to a second stage container that includes a letterboxing stamp.

Does anyone know what kind of camera I will need to aquire?

Hard to answer your question about "kind of camera" with the info you've presented. You've used the term "webcam", which means camera image available on a website.  This means that you need a camera and online hosting for its image output.   The camera has to be outputting its images electronically, either wired or wirelessly  - which in turn gets into the question of power supply.

I suspect you're not really planning anything that complex, ie, not really a "webcam",  but maybe?

If I wanted to incorporate a webcam into cache design, I'd be looking at existing webcams, preferably user movable, and use something from one of the locations that they image as a way to generate coordinates for a stage or the final.  Cache type would be a Mystery. If I added a stamp to the final box, it would be a letterbox hybrid.

I probably wouldn't add a stamp ;-)

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I've seen webcams that allowed random visitors to the site to control where the camera points and how much it zooms in. Perhaps the webcam could be used to find a plaque or something with the final coordinates on it. So you'd have to point the webcam at the correct object and zoom in, which would tell you where the final is, and then you'd use those GPS coordinates to find the final.

Wouldn't that be labled as a multi or a mystery?

25 minutes ago, dennistubaplayer said:

Wouldn't that be labled as a multi or a mystery?

Yes, unless you chose to place a letterbox stamp in the final container.  Those are your three choices.

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While it would require both power and an internet connection (wired or wireless), I like the idea of setting up a PTZ 'network' camera and requiring the user to manipulate it (using a standard browser, not proprietary camera app) to visually locate information within the camera's field of view necessary to obtaining the coordinates for another stage or a final for a cache.  Some of these can be set up for temporary lock-out use such that multiple users aren't conflicting for control at the same time.  A decent PTZ (especially the Z = real optical zoom) aren't cheap, though (\$160+).  Could work with just pan/tilt but would be a lot more fun if the operator had to zoom in on things to find the answers.

To the above, a gadget like this might serve the purpose

The problem is getting enough info on how controllable these are using a standard browser vs. one of the ONVIF apps.

Edited by ecanderson

If you can create a webcam that is webhosted - it really shouldn't be that hard to add some vision processing to determine if there is a face or person on the camera.

Then you could have the final coordinates appear on the picture or website only when someone is on.

I haven't tried it but this tutorial seems pretty close:

18 hours ago, ecanderson said:

While it would require both power and an internet connection (wired or wireless), I like the idea of setting up a PTZ 'network' camera and requiring the user to manipulate it (using a standard browser, not proprietary camera app) to visually locate information within the camera's field of view necessary to obtaining the coordinates for another stage or a final for a cache.  Some of these can be set up for temporary lock-out use such that multiple users aren't conflicting for control at the same time.  A decent PTZ (especially the Z = real optical zoom) aren't cheap, though (\$160+).  Could work with just pan/tilt but would be a lot more fun if the operator had to zoom in on things to find the answers.

I think I found a cheap one that is just what I'm looking for. https://www.walmart.com/ip/Wireless-Security-Camera-System-Outdoor-360-degree-WiFi-PTZ-Camera-1080P-Full-HD-4x-Optical-Zoom-Pan-Tilt-Zoom-Night-Vision-White/422058022

Not very high resolution (2MP) , but could work.  My bigger concern is  over connectivity.  It says it's a WiFi camera, but I do note that the only user comment says "I just wish I could be able to watch it on my phone while I'm at work but unfortunately can't since my phone and camera has to be connected to same WiFi".  I don't know what to make of that, but IF the user is correct, that would imply that this one wouldn't work unless the finder was able to connect to the same WiFi hub as the camera.  It would be a strange design, but for only \$50... ???

Wish they would specify the manufacturer's web site (if any) and model number so a person could look at the full specs before buying.  If you try to find "Mancro" it always leads you back to WalMart.

Couldn't I just say in the log that you needed to connect to XYZ's wifi?

Geocachers can be required to connect to a Wifi router as part of a cache design, but no downloads can be required and the user cannot be required to provide any personal information/login credentials.  The user can be directed to a webpage that contains the information needed to proceed with the geocache hunt.

A stage of a mystery cache, multi-cache or letterbox hybrid cache that involves a wifi connection would be listed as a virtual stage.  The "Beacon" attribute would be required.

Edited by Keystone

For the case I am still considering, the camera would be operated from a standard browser interface that requires no personal info of any sort to be provided.  I think the OP would be able to sort out how to do that quite easily using any of several different PTZ camera products.  Ideally, there would be no need to log in via any specific WiFi system.  That's how MOST of these products are designed to function, though obviously, they all do need some kind of internet connection for access.

To the OP:

Regarding power, there are two common approaches to this.  One requires supply of AC somewhere in the vicinity, with use of a wall wart to bring the juice down to some reasonable DC voltage.  This works for wired or wireless cameras.  Then there's something known as PoE (Power over Ethernet) that supplies power on the hardwired link.  That only works with wired cameras.  A couple of options for you to consider.

Regarding connectivity, unless you can come up with a static IP address, you're going to need to allow the camera to operate off of some unknown (likely Chinese) server for which the camera is pre-configured.  Getting the dynamic address to the finder's browser may be tricky, but is often handled by QR code these days.  You could duplicate the QR on the camera on the cache web page or a sticker nearby the camera to guide the finder's browser to the correct IP address.

Everything depends upon the choice of camera when it comes to the details.

Hmm.... two ideas:

1. You could even run it in your house if you want. Set up the camera online 24/7 in a diorama of sorts. Allow a user to connect and control the camera to figure something out to solve the puzzle.

2. You could theoretically use a smartphone - if you have an app that can recognize content, you could require something to visible in the frame like, say a QR code, or a recognizable image (like face suggested above) and have the phone respond to that.  With the internet of things that could be most anything, from lights and equipment activating, to communications... imagination's the limit.

Hmm....

5 hours ago, thebruce0 said:

1. You could even run it in your house if you want. Set up the camera online 24/7 in a diorama of sorts. Allow a user to connect and control the camera to figure something out to solve the puzzle.

I don't know if you were thinking of any particular cache, but The Night Mail uses this method - once you get past the first stage of the puzzle.

12 hours ago, thebruce0 said:

Hmm.... two ideas:

1. You could even run it in your house if you want. Set up the camera online 24/7 in a diorama of sorts. Allow a user to connect and control the camera to figure something out to solve the puzzle.

2. You could theoretically use a smartphone - if you have an app that can recognize content, you could require something to visible in the frame like, say a QR code, or a recognizable image (like face suggested above) and have the phone respond to that.  With the internet of things that could be most anything, from lights and equipment activating, to communications... imagination's the limit.

Hmm....

Hey Alexa, show me the coordinates...

So I got the camera I needed for Christmas, and I found a cool spot to mount it that has Wifi and is pretty hidden. What I am doing is having the cacher move the camera either with their hand or online and if I can get it to move online than I will also look in to making it Zoom in (my camera can do that)and make it so that it needs to focus on a plaque that has the coordinates on it that leads to the second stage. but What I am still unsure about is if I would label it as a multi or a mystery. Does anyone know? Thanks all! Happy New Year!

1 hour ago, dennistubaplayer said:

So I got the camera I needed for Christmas, and I found a cool spot to mount it that has Wifi and is pretty hidden. What I am doing is having the cacher move the camera either with their hand or online and if I can get it to move online than I will also look in to making it Zoom in (my camera can do that)and make it so that it needs to focus on a plaque that has the coordinates on it that leads to the second stage. but What I am still unsure about is if I would label it as a multi or a mystery. Does anyone know? Thanks all! Happy New Year!

Sounds like a question for your local Reviewer.

Happy New Year

1 hour ago, dennistubaplayer said:

So I got the camera I needed for Christmas, and I found a cool spot to mount it that has Wifi and is pretty hidden. What I am doing is having the cacher move the camera either with their hand or online and if I can get it to move online than I will also look in to making it Zoom in (my camera can do that)and make it so that it needs to focus on a plaque that has the coordinates on it that leads to the second stage. but What I am still unsure about is if I would label it as a multi or a mystery. Does anyone know? Thanks all! Happy New Year!

Dennis, if part of your plan is for cachers to physically put hands on your camera, it will not last:  Broken or stolen.

To make it move 'online' as you say, you would have to have a webpage to control it (because you cannot have cachers downloading control software to their phones), either hosted on the internet or on an internal webserver that they could connect to.

Keep in mind, if THAT'S what you're going to do, you eliminate any cacher that doesn't use a smartphone.

Whatever you come up with, please think it through, and come back here and let us know how it goes!

And, FWIW, I would label it as a multi with a Field Puzzle attribute.

On 12/31/2020 at 11:01 AM, dennistubaplayer said:

... but What I am still unsure about is if I would label it as a multi or a mystery. Does anyone know? Thanks all! Happy New Year!

What you have created in your mind, SO far, is a multi with a field puzzle attribute.  It requires no knowledge to be gained or anything to be figured out before arriving the posted coordinates.  I assume your camera can be manipulated over a cell phone?

Slightly offtopic, but reading this topic I thought of another way a webcam could play a role in today's game. You could have someone show a QR code in front of the camera, that would result in revealing for instance the coordinates of either the next waypoint, or the cache itself. Maybe setup a website that generates a custom QR code in which an email address is embedded, so the coordinates get mailed to that address.

I found a few articles on how to put a camera feed on a website but nothing about moving a camera manually on a website. Does anyone know of a guide or a tutorial to help me?

Everything depends upon the web cam you have!  If it's a PTZ (pan/tilt/zoom) camera, then it's designed to be controlled somehow.  If you'll tell us exactly what you have, we can check to see what software control mechanism is intended for it.  Some require a very specific app.  Some have only a phone app available.  Some work from a web browser on either a phone or PC, or yet another very specific app just for a PC.

Edited by ecanderson

Here's an instructable for making a remotely controlled pan & tilt camera at home.

There are products you can buy for remote controlled motion and rotation, whether a separate platform or built into a webcam.

And here's an example webcam (well, security cam) that may have a web-based remote interface, or a way to make one perhaps.

Edited by thebruce0
On 1/2/2021 at 9:18 PM, ecanderson said:

If you'll tell us exactly what you have, we can check to see what software control mechanism is intended for it.

The Camera I got is a Reolink E1 Pro. It can Connect to 5G internet (Unlike many other cameras) And has Pan/tilt. When you connect it to you're internet from you're computer (which I haven't done yet" There's an option that says "add media source", which means that you can put the feed up on a website like Youtube. My question though is how do I set it up so that you can move the camera from a website.

OK.  First, this is a good sign >> "PC: Windows, Mac OS; Smartphone: iOS, Android"

This is even better >> "20 Users (1 admin account & 19 user accounts); Support up to 12 simultaneous video streams (10 substreams & 2 mainstreams) "

I think you have a winner there.   I don't have the supporting documents, but that sounds very much as though it can be fully controlled by a phone or PC, which is exactly what you want.  They seem to have apps for everything.  See the manufacturer's product page here >> https://reolink.com/product/e1-pro/

As far as I can see, there are only a few things you'll want to note in particular.  1) This is an 'indoor' camera.   That will limit where it can be successfully placed for your purposes.  2) It may not have the ability to invert the image 180 degrees (though that remains to be seen - can't see anything about that in the specs).  That means that inverting it to mount it on a ceiling could be problematic unless you don't mind your finders standing on their heads <g> while working on solving your puzzle.  3) And don't forget that you'll need somewhere to plug in the wall wart.  They don't say how much DC power cable they supply.  4) This isn't a PTZ (zoom) camera (wouldn't expect it to be at this really decent price), and while it has a fair pixel count, you'll want to consider how well it images against whatever size object you are targeting at whatever distance.

Last, and probably most important -- it MAY be that it is necessary to scan a QR code on the camera in order to connect a device to it.  You can resolve this by duplicating the camera's QR code, if that's how they are managing this, and providing it to the user rather than requiring the user to access the physical camera to perform that connection task.

Looks like you could have some fun with this.

It'll be fun when more than one person is controlling the camera remotely at once.

ecanderson is right about having to scan a QR code on the side of the camera. If that's a requirement and you can't place that code somewhere accessible instead of ON the camera, then you'll have to mount your camera within grubby-fingered reach of the public, and your camera's soon to be toast. Or stolen.

You said you have to connect it to the internet through your computer. Does this mean that it goes through your computer to GET TO the internet as opposed to just configuring the camera WITH your computer to DIRECTLY output to a webpage or YouTube? If so, then you're committing to having your computer running and connected 24/7.

"5G Access" - Your phone account and ongoing expense, I guess?

Here's another consideration. If someone can view the camera feed with their cell phone, you're setting up a remote survellance camera that can be accessed and redirected by the general public. Things in the world are different now from when straight webcam caches were allowed. If you don't own the property, then I think getting permission from most businesses and governmental agencies might be tough.

Lastly, if you display on YouTube, do you run afoul of the restrictions against having to download third-party software?

This a very complex setup. If you can make it work securely and consistently, it'll be a very cool geocache and I would be happy to log it.

This camera does not have a browser interface so the difficulty curve is going to be steep...

Yes, but they do have apps for Android, iOS and Windows, so that should cover a lot of the potential users.

Links on the cache page for each of those will be important.

As mustakorppi notes, there are prohibitions in the guidelines in that regard, so you're going to have to work with your reviewer to see if it's going to be permitted.  Note the word 'generally'.

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A cache page that requires one or more of the following will generally not be published:

• Using memory sticks and similar devices
• Installing files or executing programs

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