discussion / Sensors  / 26 March 2018

Thermal imaging scopes


I have rad the threads already posted and I was wandering if people have had experiences with thermal scopes. I have seen them range from AU$600 to above and beyond $30K.

My plan would be to use one in combnation with my conservation detection dogs while surveying at night to 

1. help potetially locate my target species 

2. identify other animals in my survey area

I would love to hear first hand experiences and recomendations of different brands

Hi Luke, 

I'll leave specific recommendations to others who are better qualified ( @Eric+Becker @Rachel+Kramer or @Alasdair - maybe you can advise?) but I did come across something yesterday that may be relevant. 

There is a live GroupGets campaign on at the moment (2 days left) for DIY-theromocam kits - not a scope but could do the trick if your budget is restricted as it's under $300 and you're willing to dabble in DIY? 

DIY-Thermocam Kit (Round 12)

The DIY-Thermocam is a do-it-yourself infrared camera, based on the FLIR Lepton long-wave infrared sensor and the popular Teensy 3.6 ARM Cortex M4 MCU. 

The aim of this project is to give private persons, educational institutes and companies access to a portable, affordable and customizable thermal imaging plattform.

There are various applications like finding heat leaks in the insulation of buildings, the analysis of electrical or mechanical components, the detection of persons / animals or even mounting it on a drone, together with the additional video out module.

Constructed as a self-assembly solution, the DIY-Thermocam allows you to take advantage of the versatile possibilities of thermal imaging and to save money at one go.

Everything, from software to hardware, is completely open-source. This allows everyone to modify or extend the functionalities of the device to their own needs.

GroupGets does now offer a complete self-assembly kit, so you don't have to worry about buying all the parts on your own.

scientific paper is also available, giving an overview about the whole project and its capabilities.

Update: haraldg has written a nice set of tools for post-processing the thermal raw data files. Check it out here. He also published a short article about manual calibration here.

Hi @Luke_edwards - I just had a chat with my colleagues @Eric+Becker and @ColbyLoucks at WWF who will get back to you with some recommendations from experience with the thermal scopes that we've explored for anti-poaching (FLIR TK and SCOUT III). 

Great to see that you're pairing conservation dogs and thermal imaging for wildlife surveys in Australia. In order to select the most cost-effective thermal imaging scope for your needs, it's important to know the range that you require, density of vegetation and size of the species you are monitoring. Can you share a bit more information on your parameters? 

The current project is in open plains. From a handler perspective the distance will be from 20m -100m. I will be working at night so it will be looking for me target, the Plains Wanderer, a small bird. Also it would be used to see other native and domestic animals in the area.

Other projects range from open plains through to rain forests.