The company I work for has done something like this for a local
construction company.  Basically, we set up a modest (P-200, if I recall
correctly, maybe 64 MB of RAM) FreeBSD machine with a webcam and a video
capture card (Happauge-based, I believe) to take pictures of a site they
were building.  Cron was used to take a picture every fifteen minutes,
dial up another computer (also FreeBSD-based), and upload it; once there,
it was merged with other pictures into movie files, made available in
an archive, etc.

Sorry to be vague on the details -- I had to rebuild the box once, so I
wasn't involved in software choices, etc.  (The ImageMagick tools would
probably be a good starting point for merging pictures.)  My point is
that we did the job pretty well with modest equipment, so I think that,
at least for time-lapse pictures, it is definitely possible to do what
you're after.

Oh, one other thing -- I do remember fooling around with capture
utilities that basically acted as a web server:  every time you
connected to the machine, it would capture a picture and send it back.
That might be useful to you.  I can't remember the name of the program,
but maybe someone else can help me out.

Hope this helps,

Saint Aardvark the Carpeted
Because the plural of Anecdote is Myth.

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