Drone-Based (UAV) 3D Thermal Modeling 📸

Drone-Based 3D Thermal Modeling

Drones and cameras are a perfect pair – and that doesn’t just apply to standard RGB cameras. In fact, thermal  cameras have been deployed on drones for several years. Why? It’s simple enough – thermal cameras are great diagnostic tools whenever surface temperature matters. In addition to civil engineering and agriculture, one of the most common applications for thermal cameras is in production technology diagnostics. Functional inspections with thermal cameras perfectly complement visual inspections with RGB cameras.

In order to more effectively visualize an issue, inspectors can use a 3D thermographic model. 3D models represent the radiometric values of the temperature, which is visualized, or quantified, at each point on the surface.

 

Chimney inspection using a drone and thermal imaging camera with DJI M600 Pro
Chimney inspection using methods of aerial thermography

Radiometric 3D models provide a great overview of the real-time situation, and they can be a valuable source of data for decision-making. A detailed radiometric model facilitates the effective planning of corrective actions, technology reconstruction, and a number of other sensitive operations. Managers, technologists, and employees appreciate these models because they provide clarity and show problems in context.

Demanding customers require cutting-edge information, and a 3D model definitely fits the bill. Luckily, there’s no great difficulty in drawing up a detailed radiometric model.

Choosing the right thermal imaging camera – Workswell WIRIS Pro

In addition to high resolution, the most important feature of any thermal imaging camera is high thermogram homogeneity, which is required for the creation of 3D models and orthophotogrammetric images. This is important not only to ensure sufficient thermal accuracy, but to develop composite images as part of 3D model creation, or orthophotogrammetry mapping. In the case of high image heterogeneity, individual images, or thermograms, will not fit together – in fact, the ‘map’ they create will be something of a nightmare.

Why the WIRIS Pro is the Right Choice: Our main goal in the development of the WIRIS thermal camera was to achieve high image homogeneity. This ensures a high degree of accuracy and underwrites the creation of 3D models and orthophotos. It’s fair to say that when we design and calibrate the Workswell WIRIS thermal camera, image homogeneity comes first and foremost.

The IR camera WIRIS Pro offers the highest resolution of any thermal camera (640×512 px), the possibility of optional lenses (user-replaceable), and a high-temperature filter (up to 1500 °C). In addition, we offer the Workswell CorePlayer software to deliver all imaginable thermography functions, including radiometric video processing.

Chimney inspection using thermal imaging camera Workswell WIRIS
Chimney inspection using thermal imaging camera Workswell WIRIS
Chimney inspection using thermal imaging camera Workswell WIRIS

Custom software for drone-based 3D thermal modeling

Users face a challenge in deciding which software to use to create 3D models with thermal data. We have found that Pix4D and Agisoft software work very well, and offer them in economical bundles with our thermal cameras.

What Sets the WIRIS Pro Apart: We also offer something very special, without which 3D models are highly limited. This is the Workswell ThermoFormat –  unique software that allows you to mass edit hundreds of thermograms at once. With ThermoFormat, you can change the emissivity or temperature range of a large set of images in a matter of minutes. Nobody else can offer you software like Workswell ThermoFormat!

Special thanks goes to Vertical Images, an aerial service provider. Vertical Images provided the images for this page, which were captured by the Workswell WIRIS thermal camera during a real-world deployment.

Chimney inspection - drone based 3D thermal modeling
Chimney inspection - drone based 3D thermal modeling