Why CityWatch?

CityWatch is the sister product to Envirovision Solutions’ award-winning ForestWatch®, a multifunctional vision system for the automated early detection of wild fires.

CityWatch is a similarly powerful detection and decision support tool – specially designed for the challenge of detecting and combating fires in congested urban environments, where fires can quickly flare out of control, leaping from building to building while destroying homes and lives.

CityWatch dramatically improves the monitoring and response capabilities of a city in regards to fire, while at all times accommodating the limited budgets of cash strapped municipalities.

How it works

High definition cameras are mounted on a communications tower or other high structure.

These cameras are programmed to automatically rotate 360º, stopping at preset positions to capture images.

Once a rotational lap has been completed (in 2-6 minutes), the CityWatch computer programme compares the captured landscape images with those from the previous lap.

If smoke is detected, an alarm is triggered at the system’s control centre, alerting a human operator to the situation. The operator can then use manual camera controls (zoom, pan, tilt), a multi-view display (displaying the entire captured panoramic view) and other sensory tools to more closely examine the situation, confirm the alarm and alert decision makers to coordinate a response, quickly and effectively.

How do our vision systems work?

For more information on how EVS vision systems work, click here.


CityWatch was first used to great effect in Cape Town and Stellenbosch in the Western Cape, South Africa. There, the overcrowded nature and poor infrastructure of informal settlements can make ground response to shack fires difficult. Aerial fire fighting is often the best solution but can be prohibitively expensive, especially if the location of the fire is unknown.

CityWatch has helped solve both these problems through its use of integrated geo-referencing. On set-up, CityWatch software locks each camera to a computer-generated 3D model of the terrain in front of it, combined with other spatial data. The result is that when you click on smoke incident on the screen, CityWatch immediately generates exact coordinates for that location in real life, and can provide such vital information as street maps of that area. This makes precision, rapid response possible without wasting resources!


  • Significantly saves time between fire ignition and effective first response
  • Infrared/near-infrared for night detection
  • Redundancies in place to ensure system always runs as emergency service
  • Record keeping function for post-event analysis
  • Flexible system is highly customisable according to your needs
  • Multifunctional system can also monitor and therefore help reduce urban carbon emissions

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