Isabella | UAV Coach

Thermal Imaging Cameras for Drones

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In this article, we share a list of the top thermal cameras for drones. Our list includes cameras from companies like FLIR, DJI, and Yuneec. The camera you choose may be heavily determined by the drone you fly—many thermal cameras are made only to fit specific drone models. We provide specs and information on compatibility to help you determine the best thermal drone camera for your project.

If you've worked on an aerial thermography project or similar project, what type of camera did you use? What thermal camera would you recommend to other drone operators? Share your thoughts below. 

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6 hours ago, Isabella | UAV Coach said:

In this article, we share a list of the top thermal cameras for drones. Our list includes cameras from companies like FLIR, DJI, and Yuneec. The camera you choose may be heavily determined by the drone you fly—many thermal cameras are made only to fit specific drone models. We provide specs and information on compatibility to help you determine the best thermal drone camera for your project.

If you've worked on an aerial thermography project or similar project, what type of camera did you use? What thermal camera would you recommend to other drone operators? Share your thoughts below. 

Very cool thread ! I was looking for a list like this just the other day. Thanks for posting !

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The Vue Pro R seems to be the most practical, price and use wise however it is a process to gimbal and control ( other than preset and fly ) and at least one manufacturer has taken advantage of that fact.

 

 

 

 

 

 

vue Pro R

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This article does not include a review of the apps or software to run each camera and drone combination, or the extensive limitations of thermal.

One cannot just slap the two together and expect similar results to photometry....for instance, the range for any FLIR branded camera is likely less than 1000 ft via wifi.
Even the best resolution thermal (dji or flir) (640x512) pales in comparison of what we use to for camera photos (4000x3000)...
dont think of slapping an thermal Ortho out of the box.  They wont stitch together.

Finally, on the app front...there are NO mapping mission or even waypoint flying available under thermal cameras as best I can tell.   Using PrecisionFlight specifically, The only
drone and camera supported with that app is a Matrice 210 or 600p and the DJI XT-R at 640x512 and ONLY the 13mm version....(The XT2 is not supported by any grid or mapping app, besides DroneDeploy and then only in LiveView).

I caution to be extremely careful when considering thermal and start with the software first. 
Im finding that for the most part the drone thermal Images ARE NOT EVEN GEOTAGGED at all. 
Its a convoluted process to take photometry and thermal at the same time (if you even can)  and then in postprocessing have to extract the EXIF out of photos and paste them in the thermal image to geotag it.    And realistically, its still only 640x512 resolution at best.

AO

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@inetcarp great post.  I was going to post about this but decided against it because people think I’m so negative all the time...

simply put, thermal is expensive and in very rare cases does it work.  People often mount it on a UAV, look at the false colors and think it works, yet as you point out, there’s very little actionable data.  And that’s if you can get it to work at all.  

We have use it quite a bit and I have a hard time recommending it to anyone.  Not worth the hassle and expense.  I know there are lots of people who claim to use it in SAR, that’s how we use it so when I say I doubt most of those accounts I know from which I speak.  Ask them to show you a video of how they used it.  

Not to say that it can’t be usful, just not yet despite the claims from DNI and FLIR. 

Here’s how we used it:  

 

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