Coronavirus webcams: see the world through tourist, traffic and wildlife cameras
The FT takes you on a tour around the world from dawn to dusk on a single day of lockdown, using web cameras trained on tourist hotspots, construction sites, traffic junctions and the natural world
Produced by Joe Sinclair and Victor Diaconescu; footage courtesy of Webcam Sydney; EarthCam; Abbey Road Studios; NASA; I Love You Venice; Birds of Poole Harbour; The Wildlife Trusts; RSPB; Wolkam IT; Habacama; Mobotix Webcams Russia; Tfl; WebCamNL; Samui Webcam; Shibuya Community News; ANN News; Table Mountain Live Stream
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[CHURCH BELL RINGING]
BRIAN CURY: That was one thing that really struck me was the speed at which the streets became vacant. Times Square, Abbey Road, you know, these are areas that are always teeming with people. The Temple Bar area in Dublin-- there's always folks there, day and night, always. It's significant, and I've never seen anything like it, having this global network of cameras. Especially after 9/11, everywhere in New York was really quiet. And it was similar, but it wasn't to this extent. And certainly globally, it wasn't anything like what we're experiencing now.
Our purpose is better lives through visual information. So what better than giving this visual information to people to help them in a time like this explore the planet, feel comfort in the fact that the world is still out there, we're all going to get back out there. You can still go there. You can still go sit on a beach virtually and experience things that you will hopefully be able to experience very soon again in real life.
[CHURCH BELL RINGING]
ALBERTO SUTERA: This camera is allowing us to appreciate the beauty of the city, but of course, a city without citizen, it is not a really city. It's like just a postcard-- something unbelievable, something amazing, but something also unreal, no? Because citizens are the soul of the city. And we are a hotel. So hotel cannot exist without tourists, especially Venice, because 90% of the tourists are also international tourists. There is a lot of uncertainty in town about how we are supposed to reopen. Because I think it's quite difficult to welcome guests with masks, with temperature control, and with this disease, no?
LEANNE MANCHESTER: So since lockdown came into force on the 23rd of March, we've had about 20 times as many visitors to our webcam's page that we would expect at this time of the year. While we already know that people feel happier and healthier when they're connected with nature, but at a time like this, when we're more isolated from the people that we're closest to, spending that time connecting with wildlife through the screen can actually help to make you feel a lot better in yourself. And they're like the most addictive soap operas, really. You get to know the characters. You get to know the individual patches, the barn owls, the puffins-- and you just want to keep going back and getting to know them even better. So it can really help soothe our souls at the moment.
MARTIN HARPER: I think the extraordinary thing that this pandemic has shown is what [INAUDIBLE] again, we're all in it together. This is a global crisis, as indeed is the climate and ecological crisis. Nearly everyone-- we've changed our lives. You have people who are frontline workers in your family, or the people who are obviously suffering. But also there are changes to the lives which may be for the better. So for example, you might actually spend more time with your family. You might spend a little less time commuting. And indeed, you might connect more to nature on your doorstep.
Now all of that qualities, and emotions, and experiences, which I think somehow we'll need to capture when we do emerge.
DAVID COGLE: I kind of akinned it to a Sunday morning. I've been working shifts for 50-odd years, and Sunday morning's always that kind of easy, easy time you could just take stock and then catch up a bit of a backlog of things. Because there's not much else going on. And that's what we're seeing most days at the moment. Because there's less traffic as well, the speeds have gone up slightly. Because normally in central London, you'd maybe get 5, 10 miles an hour if you're lucky. The accidents we're getting are more serious [INAUDIBLE] damage-wise.
We've got a balcony up on the seventh floor here. You go up there for a cup of coffee, and you can hear the birds tweeting, you can hear the odd rumble of the odd train. But that's it. And that is very peculiar. This is London. It shouldn't be like this. It should be hustle, bustle, horns, sirens, everything going off, trains rumbling past. A bit un-nerving in a way.
PETER AUSTIN: Especially during this crisis, lots of people from their home are curious what's going on in the next city, or on the opposite side of the world. People use it as a virtual window.
In construction sites saves the person of the office travel time, and that will not change after the crisis is over. Because they got accustomed to the fact that they can watch remotely, and so no longer need to be in traffic for one or two hours. And we have seen an increase of requests for, once this crisis is over, the regulations will change. And of course, a theatre or cinema needs to take precautions. One of the precautions now is instal thermal cameras. And a thermal camera is because our body has a temperature, 37 degrees, or 36.5. You will see the difference between a sick person and a not sick person.
MATTHEW CINDEREY: We get hundreds of people watching. Because they like to watch the streets, people walking by. And I guess they look like they're people watching, but from their home. And unfortunately, obviously, the bars and stuff are closed in Thailand now. So we don't really get that many views through it now. Because there's nothing for people to watch.
But the one that's getting the most attention now is called Samui Yacht Club, and it's like a view of the sea. Some people write and say they find it very relaxing. They put it on in the background, and they just like to hear the sea noise and stuff.