LiDAR, Light Detection and Ranging, is a sensor that emits pulses of light and measures the distance based on the time it takes for it’s return. It creates a 3-dimensional point cloud map that can be used to create 3D replications of the land. The sensors can measure tree height, diameter of trees (DBH), volume, canopy cover, and amounts of soil lost to erosion over time.
Multispectral and Hyperspectral imagery provides images of electromagnetic wavelengths. Multispectral has wider bands with less channels that allow for information to be collected on the health of vegetation, species identification, nutrition, pest/diseases, and water-stress. Hyperspectral contains narrow bands giving us more channels for higher accuracy on identifying species, disease, and minerals.
Thermal cameras are devices that capture and form images using infrared radiation. They translate thermal energy (heat) into visible light to produce a thermogram and then analyzed in a process called thermography. Thermographic cameras tend to operate at wavelengths as long as 14,000nm and are divided into two different types of detectors:
- Cooled infrared detectors provide superior image quality but are expensive to produce and run. Cooling the system is energy-intensive and time-consuming but allows for the use of higher F-numbers lenses to perform with long focal length lenses.
- Uncooled infrared detectors operate at ambient temperatures and use sensors that work by the change of voltage, resistance, or current when heated by the infrared radiation. These sensors are less costly and smaller than cooled infrared detectors but come at the expense of the resolution and image quality.
Uses of Thermal Imaging Cameras
- Firefighting: identify hotspots.
- Air Quality: monitor smoke-stacks.
- Gas Detection: detect presence of specific gases.
- Preventative Maintenance
- Search & Rescue
- Road Safety
- Wildlife surveys: conduct night-time wildlife surveys or conduct wildlife research without using invasive methods.
- Unwanted Pest
- Power Usage
- Solar Panels: check for electrical defects.
- Phase Supply: check for unbalanced electrical load.
Mechanical & Maintenance
- Motor Vehicles: identify overheated bearings, engine parts, and exhaust leaks.
- Pipes & Ducts: identify blockages in systems and pipe work.
- Non-destructive testing: detect voids, delaminations, and water inclusion in composite materials
- Greenhouse: review issues in commercial greenhouses
- Leak detection: Identify and locate leaks