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The authors propose a new approach for network lifetime maximisation in visual wireless sensor networks (VWSN). The existence of redundant multiple sensing for some parts of the field results in additional computational complexity and requires more bandwidth and battery power in the nodes, hence reducing the network lifetime. In a VWSN, efficient node collaboration for data sensing and gathering is a key factor to determine network lifetime. The proposed approach provides a jointly optimised traffic routing and camera selection strategy to enhance the lifetime of the whole network. In this approach, different nodes can collaborate with each other to prevent unnecessary multiple sensing of different areas in the network, and at the same time collaborate in the routing of the generated traffics to the network sink.