My days and thoughts....

Blog covering some selected happenings in my life.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Webcams from Egypt

I have always wanted to talk about this thing. Webcams are one of the importants tools that can help promote a country. Not only that, but they can also provice important traffic information and can be very helpful in emergency situations. Not to mention the pleasure that many people on the internet find in watching webcams from other countries. I am a big fan of webcams and many times and I am bored I check my favourite website Earth Cam which I have been following for 6 years since dial up internet in Egypt. This website has a compilation of thousands of webcams from all over the world. Even the occupied palestinian territory has a webcam (i lost the link) broadcasting from downtown Gaza and I think Ramallah too. Also I witnessed the landfall of Hurricane Katrina through webcams. My most favourite webcam page the one broadcasting from the heart of New York at Times Square with increasing number of cams broadcasting and one of them provides live video stream with sound. There are 11 cams now on that page, they were only 5 back then during the 9-11 attacks in September 2001. I also like webcams that make you control them for a short period.

Now, where is Egypt from all of that? Well, untill last year early 2005, there were only 3 webcams. I believe Egypt's first webcam is Tommy Friedl's webcam in hurghada. This is the first webcam I came through unknown number of years ago. It was the only returned result that I got back then after spending hours searching for a webcams in Egypt. I wasn't fond of it that much as it didn't and still doesn't give much updates. It is updated a couple of times everyday only. But I will leave it alone in this paragraph as it deserves distiction for being Egypt's first webcam. Tommy Friedl is provides water sports and safaries in Hurghada so more info is found on the website.


My favourite webcam is the PyramidCam which is Cairo's first webcam.They provides 2 cams, the first is a neat closeup of the pyramids that works from sunrise to sunset. The other is a wide angle 24 hours online night cam. They provide more than a shot every minute. Since I have came about that site last November, it has been on my daily routine. I watched more than a 100 sunsets on it. However, sunsets starting from mid April are not as amusing as they were because of the angle of the sun and decreasing amounts of clouds. The camera and website is maintaned by Jim Sorenson, an American businessman who has been living in Egypt for a long time and Ramy Siag of the Siag Travel that owns the Siag Pyramids Hotel.(this part is copied from their website)

There was a second cam from Hurghada, Colona Divers Cam which is a diving centre that operates 4 more branches across the red sea in Egypt. This one is much better than Tommy Friedl's as it is online 24 hours and they change its position a couple of times in a day.
The American University in Cairo added Cairo's first webcam(Geographical Cairo governorate as Pyramids are in Giza) or in their new campus that is located in the Tagammo3 El Khamis (5th district) of the RingRoad in Qattameyya. The cameras started operating the last summer near the beginning of the fall semester. They give one update every hour for 24 hours and you can watch the buildings under construction there. It is kinda boring!




Untill last January, I could only find these 4 webcams through all possible cam websites. But two weeks ago, while searching again for webcams in Egypt, I found 3 more webcams. Again one in Hurghada, a second in Dahab(yes DAHAB) and a third in Sharm El Shiekh. Hurghada third webcam is maintaned by Colona WaterSports which I think is different than the Colona Divers. This cam is directly located on the beach where you can see a lot of people kiting or windsurfing. There is also a detailed weather ticker about the current conditions. This is the best cam in Hurghada!!

The next two cams are in Sinai. Finally something in Sharm El Sheikh; the Werner Lau Diving Center cam, updated 3 times in one hour for 24 hours. A little boring but you can get to see some people moving around. The webcam in Dahab, also owned by a water sports center is a troublesome one. I only watched it working just one time in the night. It is not working at all now. They are supposed to provice live video stream but I didn't bother to install the activex control as the webcam itself is not working properly.

Now let me praise myself and show off a little. I sometimes use my webcam to show spider and sometimes the street. The first success was during the solar eclipse that happened last March. I got 300 hits on that day and my computer became so slow. I was refreshing the image every 5-10 seconds. I also left it online for some random days for a couple of weeks after. I am not sure if this counts as the 8th webcam in Egypt but I, myself, don't think so as its not consistently online. I Occasionally you can find it online on that here, hosted at home of course. I think that on my long term plans I have to make an online webcam broadcasting from the street I live in.

Egypt has 7 webcams owned and maintained by foreigners, mostly germans and diving centres. I don't know why the notion of using webcams to show people and places have not spread in Egypt. Broadband internet is spreading fastly which is one of the reasons for the addition of the new cams in parts of sinai that were non existant before 15 years. These people, although not Egyptians, are doing a great job promoting Egypt. I wish I can see more webcams soon. I think the Nile deserves more than one cam and other crowded places like Ramses Square and El-Hussein Area. Hats off to these guys.

Here is a list of links to of Egypt's online webcams ordered alphabetically by location. Check them out and add them to your favourites.

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