A Man, a Plan, a Cam...
November 18, 2005 10:53 AM   Subscribe

Panamacam! (warning: embedded mpg) Using available web-cam footage and a little DIY hackery, Stephan van der Palen created this nifty little time-lapse movie of shipping traffic in the Panama Canal zone (1 week=11 min.). Not to be outdone, the US Army Corps of Engineers has their own Lock-cams, and releases their own time-lapse movies of Soo Lock Traffic--from multiple cams--every day of the shipping season.
posted by Chrischris (16 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Super cool, thanks.
posted by teleskiving at 10:56 AM on November 18, 2005

Thanks - it's oddly hypnotizing.
posted by Staggering Jack at 11:08 AM on November 18, 2005

That is completely awesome. I wonder how big boats would be if they didn't have to be designed to fit through the locks, some of those big ones looked like they were scraping the sides already.
posted by Jawn at 11:08 AM on November 18, 2005

That's so friggin' cool.
posted by keswick at 11:38 AM on November 18, 2005

Jawn, in the shipping industry it is normal to talk about a class of ship called 'Post Panamax', you guess why...
posted by Catfry at 12:15 PM on November 18, 2005

This is beautiful. Huge container ships zipping around like a cheesy stop-motion animation. Great find.
posted by wanderingmind at 12:22 PM on November 18, 2005

A man, A plan, A canal - Panama!
posted by metaxa at 12:32 PM on November 18, 2005

A cam, a plan, a canal – Pamaca!

(dope link, thanks chrischris)
posted by NorthernSky at 1:04 PM on November 18, 2005

A man, A cam, A nal - Panamax!
posted by hal9k at 1:10 PM on November 18, 2005

"You reach down...between my legs...ease the locks back."
posted by kirkaracha at 2:30 PM on November 18, 2005

Palindromes, anagrams, a fun language day for MeFi
posted by adzm at 4:45 PM on November 18, 2005

Amazing. That's something I'd always wanted to see so I could understand how the Panama Canal actually works, really see how it works. Thanks Chrischris for the interesting, educational link.
posted by nickyskye at 5:57 PM on November 18, 2005

Well, Jawn, the maximum the Canal allows now is about 39 feet draft, 110' beam, and 900' length. The US Navy's carriers have exceeded that since the 1960s, though they can just squeeze through Suez.

(My brother was on the Big E -- Enterprise. For its reactor refit, they just sent it on a world cruise from Alameda that happened to end at Norfolk. They transited Suez, and I've seen photographs -- you can't believe it. From land, it looks like it's rolling across desert.)

Apparently about 1/6 of the world's commercial fleet is now too big for Panama, rising to 1/4 a few years from now, so they're a bit concerned. They want to expand the canal to accomodate this shipping traffic, but there are a few problems. First of all, the Gaillard Cut -- the greatest engineering achievement of the canal's construction -- is all but too narrow to accomodate the largest ships as it is, so they have to manage it by alternating one-way traffic. Second, the allowable draft is periodically reduced by drought, since the canal is fed by rainfall flowing into Gatun Lake. Deforestation has reduced the annual rainfall as traffic has increased, leaving less water for lock operations. If they do expand the locks, they'll also increase water usage, so they'd have to implement a water recycling system.
posted by dhartung at 8:49 PM on November 18, 2005

Because the geek in me can't help it, here's a rather extensive page of worldwide harbor, canal, bridge (as in suspension, etc.), and beach cams for your viewing pleasure.

And another set of bridge (as in onboard) and pilothouse cams as well.
posted by Chrischris at 10:23 PM on November 18, 2005

posted by tomplus2 at 5:51 PM on November 19, 2005

Great post!
posted by dhruva at 1:05 AM on November 20, 2005

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