For Journalists



U.Va. Webcam Connects Jefferson’s Lawn To The World

May 2, 2000 -- Sunny days on the University of Virginia’s historic Lawn aren’t just for students anymore. Now, anyone can bring scenes of the Jefferson-designed Lawn live to his or her computer screen by accessing the U.Va. home page.

RotundaCam, a Pelco video camera mounted on Old Cabell Hall, takes pictures of the Lawn for anyone around the world to view. People at computers on campus can watch the Lawn through JPEG images that update every five seconds. Off campus, the Lawn can be seen every 10 seconds.

RotundaCam can be accessed by clicking on the Welcome Center icon on U.Va.’s home page, or visiting

RotundaCam serves two purposes, according to U.Va. Webmaster Nancy Tramontin. Alumni can see a live view of their alma mater, and people who have never seen U.Va. can log on to get a virtual view of the University’s architecture and Lawn.

"It presents Jefferson’s University in a new medium that allows us to share this incredible place with others," Tramontin said.

A project of U.Va. Information Technology and Communication (ITC), RotundaCam debuted earlier this academic year as part of a demonstration of the capabilities of Internet2, said James Jokl, ITC director of communications and systems. Internet2 is a partnership of more than 170 universities working with government and industry to create advanced network applications and develop the next generation of Internet technology.

Because of its Internet2 partnership, the RotundaCam site also offers visitors more technologically advanced options. Time-lapse movies of each day are available up to a week later. To create these, the camera records a still image every 30 seconds throughout the day.

That night, each image is processed into a short time-lapse movie so viewers can watch the sun rise, students race to class, shadows lengthen and darkness descend on the Lawn.

Live versions of the Lawn are also available to viewers, "but these are extremely computer-intensive to generate," Jokl said. "They utilize video-streaming, a technique similar to that used in video conferencing and some distance-learning applications."

Jokl said RotundaCam serves as an example of emerging technologies. "When we’re trying to describe to people what things are possible with technology, they can take a look at this," he said.

Other schools, such as Cornell University and the University of Washington, have similar campus views on their Web sites.

For more information, contact Jim Jokl at (804) 924-0616 or, or Nancy Tramontin at (804) 924-4524 or

Contact: Jill Johnson, (804) 924-6855

FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: please contact the Office of University Relations at (804) 924-7116. Television reporters should contact the TV News Office at (804) 924-7550.
SOURCE: U.Va. News Services


UVa News Sources UVa Top News UVa WebCalendar UVa Home Page UVa News Sources UVa Top News UVa WebCalendar UVa Home Page

Top news site edited by Jane Ford (; maintained by Karen Asher (; releases posted by Suzanne Raileanu (
Last Modified: Tuesday, 02-May-2000 15:17:50 EDT
© 2000 by the Rector and Visitors of the University of Virginia
Topnews Information: (804) 924-4298.

News Sources UVa WebCalendar UVa Home Page News Sources UVa WebCalendar UVa Home Page UVa Top News UVa WebCalendar UVa Home Page UVa Top News UVa WebCalendar UVa Home Page UVa News Sources UVa Top News UVa WebCalendar UVa Home Page UVa News Sources UVa Top News UVa WebCalendar Uva Home Page