Node Crawler Finds Open Surveillance Cams

December 04 2013

Somehow I only just recently came across Surveillance Saver, a screensaver that picks a random open webcam and displays it as a screensaver. The voyeur in me was immediately intrigued, so I downloaded. Unfortunately, more often than not, the only thing I could get was random texture junk.

texture junk

Long story short, turns out the database that SurveillanceSaver draws from is outdated, broken, and unfixable because of changes to the Google API. I was getting random texture junk because the screen saver never received a valid webcam url.

Driven by dissapointment, I started thinking about making my own database, which is when I came across node-crawler a great little node module that makes it super easy to make a web crawler. So I cooked up a little script just using the URL patterns listed on the surveillance saver site. These patterns catch axis, mobotix, SNC, and panasonic camera feeds, but it seems useful for anyone who wants to find something on the web programatically, so I thougth I’d share.

Running this script for about 2 hours, I crawled through 4000+ urls and found around 20 working webcams. That’s a pretty damn good ratio!

With a little more work, I could get this running on a server, make a little API interface, and add a routine to make sure the links are still active.

With yet a little more work, I could make a Cinder screen saver front end to consume this API.

Stay tuned! Great things may happen, and Surveillence Saver may rise again.