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L

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RE: Calton Hill
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Calton Hill is one of Edinburgh's main hills, set right in the city centre. It is unmistakable with its Athenian acropolis poking above the skyline.

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L

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It's high time ball on Calton Hill was saved from decay.
In the mid-19th century, long before the days of radio and television, a 762-kilogram ball on the top of Calton Hill helped sailors tell the time.
Since 1852, it has risen and fallen at 1pm, with the aid of a pulley system, to help ensure there were no accidents in the Forth. Sailors used the signal to set their chronometers - navigational aids without which ships could have been lost.
In the years that followed, more modern methods of telling the time have replaced it, including the One o'Clock Gun.

3.18362W_55.95501N
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Calton Hill, Edinburgh, Scotland
Latitude: 55.955501 N Longitude: -3.18362 W

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Edinburgh's Royal Observatory
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A sophisticated security system has been installed at Edinburgh's Royal Observatory to protect millions of pounds worth of equipment from vandals.
Motion sensors and access control panels have been installed on all doors at the facility on Blackford Hill.

The upgrade has been driven by a fear of vandalism at the remote location.
High levels of security and access have always been a primary concern at the observatory and the recent upgrades bring the installation costs for the security system to 16,000.

The new equipment allows security staff to monitor all movement on the site, as well as controlling access to different areas and recording when different rooms have been accessed. One of the key sites being protected by the new security system is the UK Astronomy Technology Centre, which works to keep the UK at the forefront of world astronomy.

It is involved in everything from developing the world's most powerful infrared camera to studying black holes through Polaroid lenses.

Some of the astronomical instruments and equipment have taken years to develop, with construction costs ranging from 100,000 to several million.
Any damage to the equipment in the building or vandalism to a laboratory could mean the loss of years of research and development.
To counter this, each door in the centre now has two entry control panels and each one is separately coded, with different access levels to the site's many facilities.
Visitors, contractors and staff alike are now issued with a proximity card on entry, giving them controlled access to selected parts of the site.
The complex also encompasses the Edinburgh University astronomy research group and a visitor centre.

"We are now using the most sophisticated networked system, which is ideal for our more complex requirements. Theft is not really a concern of ours, but if someone were to damage the equipment here it could cost us a lot of valuable research. And with up to 200 people on the premises at any time, it is crucial for us to be able to control admittance and keep a check on who is where. All the information can be merged with other measurement information so that I get an accurate and detailed picture of all activity across the site." - Ron Lambert, head of premises at the Royal Observatory.

The system has been provided by Chubb Electronic Security, and covers all areas of the site, with particularly emphasis on the perimeter. There is still scope to extend it, however, and in 2006 the Royal Observatory is set to look at integrating images from the CCTV system into the central security system, which could allow face-recognition access.

"We are delighted to have introduced the new system at the Royal Observatory where it is ideally suited to their complex site requirements. The networked system vastly simplifies the way in which security and access are monitored and we hope to continue expanding and updating the system and introducing new aspects to it in future." - John Bennett, product manager for integrated security systems at Chubb Electronic Security.

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