What is drone thermal imaging, and how can it help?

Commercial property thermal insulation survey
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What is Thermal Imaging?

Thermal imaging cameras are devices that translate thermal energy (heat) into visible light in order to analyse a particular object or scene. The image produced is known as a thermogram and is analysed through a process called thermography. Thermal imaging cameras take measuring temperature to the next level; instead of just getting a number for the temperature you get a picture showing the temperature differences of a surface and with Radiometric capability too, spot temperature readings can be taken at any point in the image.

Originally developed for military use, thermal imaging cameras have migrated into other fields and have found many uses. Firefighters use them to see through smoke, find people and localise hotspots of fires. Law enforcement uses the technology to manage surveillance activities, locate and apprehend suspects, investigate crime scenes, and conduct search and rescue operations. Power line maintenance technicians locate overheating joints and parts to eliminate potential failures. Where thermal insulation becomes faulty, building construction technicians can see heat leaks to improve the efficiencies of cooling or heating. They are also common tools used by home inspectors.

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QUALIFIED & APPROVED THERMOGRAPHERS

Qualified Thermographer

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Thermal Image Reporting

Thermal Imaging Level 1 Report

Zenmuse XT Radiometric 640

Thermal Imaging Uncooled VOx Microbolometer
FPA/Digital Video Display 640 × 512
Analog Video Display Formats 720 × 480 (NTSC); 720 × 576 (PAL)
Pixel Pitch 17 ?m
Spectral Band 7.5 – 13.5 ?m
Full Frame Rates 640 × 512?30 Hz (NTSC) 25 Hz (PAL)
Exportable Frame Rates 7.5 Hz NTSC; 8.3 Hz PAL
Scene Range (High Gain) 640 × 512?-13° to 275°F (-25° to 135°C)
Scene Range (Low Gain) -40° to 1022°F (-40° to 550°C)
Spot Meter Temperatures measured in central 4×4
File Storage Micro SD Card
Photo Format JPEG, TIFF
Video Format MP4

F.A.Q.

Because thermal energy can be reflected off shiny surfaces, thermal imaging cameras cannot see through glass. Thermal imaging cameras can be used to gather information about the inside of a wall, but they cannot see through walls. It is also important to know that thermal imaging cameras should not be used as the only deciding factor that a problem exists. Using other instruments should always be used to confirm the problem

No. Thermal imaging cameras only detect heat; they will not “see” through solid objects, clothing, brick walls, etc. They see the heat coming off the surface of the object.

Yes. Night vision relies on at least a very low level of light (less than the human eye can detect) in order to amplify it so that it can produce a picture. Night vision will not work in complete darkness whereas thermal imaging will because it only “sees” heat.

Yes. Rain and heavy fog can severely limit the range of thermal imaging cameras because light scatters off of droplets of water.

Thermal Image of an old landfill site showing underground heating from methane gas

1950s Landfill Site surveyed by drone using thermal imaging
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