Support Website Contact Support Blog

Thermal Drone Recommendations

We’re looking to upgrade our drone to be able to do thermal scanning as well as the visible spectrum without breaking the bank.

Radiometric temperature readings per pixel aren’t really necessary. We mainly just need a visual thermal representation of projects to aid in construction development.

We would like to be able to generate a 3D mesh of the thermal data and not just an ortho image since we will be analyzing buildings.

We’d also like to be as useful in the visible spectrum as well in order to generate point clouds and/or meshes of sites and utilize the other functions of Pix4Dmapper such as stockpile quantification.

RTK functionality isn’t really necessary since we have a GNSS receiver to shoot in GCPs.

Can anyone share their experiences with the setups they use and the pros and cons they’ve found with them?

Originally we were interested in the DJI Mavic 2 Enterprise Advanced, but after reading up on this, it doesn’t seem that compatible with Pix4Dmapper due to DJI’s proprietary camera system.

Am I missing anything?

Thanks all!

Hello @ctwbim,
The Mavic 2 Enterprise Advanced thermal camera is not in our database. However, Pix4Dmapper is drone agnostic, meaning you should be able to process any image obtained from the drone.

Although Mavic 2 Enterprise Advanced thermal is a radiometric corrected thermal camera, the image EXIF format is not the same as the other thermal images rjpeg format which is why Pix4D is not able to use the FLIR SDK for conversion to tif and use them to produce thermal maps with temperature values. So, you can only generate thermal maps for visualization.

Please have a look also here: Pix4Dmapper not converting RJPEG images to tiff from Zenmuse H20T and Mavic 2 dual enterprise advanced thermal camera

Best,

Thanks Nikoleta,

I’ve disappointingly already come to that conclusion.

Currently, it doesn’t seem that any of the thermal cameras offered by DJI are in the Pix4D database so choices are limited for a good all-around thermal/visible spectrum camera.

The one’s that are in the database are no longer sold.

I would hope this is an issue your development team is working on but if not, I was hoping to hear from the community what solutions they have found that work for them.

Hi,

The problem is not that the camera is not in the database. The issue is that the image EXIF format is not the same as the other thermal images (rjpeg format) which is why Pix4D is not able to use the FLIR SDK for conversion to tif.
As I mentioned earlier, Pix4Dmapper is drone agnostic, meaning you should be able to process any image obtained from the drone.

The ones that are in the database are no longer sold.
Which cameras are you referring to?

Best,

Specifically, the DJI Zenmuse XT and XTR listed as supported camera models in the Processing Thermal Images how-to.

These are no longer purchasable from DJI and the only thermal camera they offer is the Zenmuse H20T which you say Pix4D cannot read the EXIF file from.

As a 3rd party software, I would think you would want to keep up with the changing technology to be as compatible with current standards as possible for our (customers) sake.

As it stands, there doesn’t seem a lot of options, at least that I’m aware of, for thermal imaging processing.

I’m new to thermal aspect of data collection and doing as much research as possible before making a major purchase, which is why I was hoping to hear from the community what experiences they have found that work with today’s current technology.

Hello @ctwbim,

Thank you for your feedback. As Nikoleta explained, the issue is from the camera manufacturer, not with the PIX4Dmapepr. PIX4Dmapper supports most of the FLIR camera, however, when the FLIR camera such as Zenmuse H20T and the Mavic 2 dual enterprise advanced thermal camera is released, the third party has changed the EXIF information embedded in the raw images. This is why even if you use the FLIR tool(official tool from FLIR), it won’t be detected it as a thermal (rjpg)image. So, unless that EXIF information is modified there is nothing we could do from our side. For more information, I would suggest you to go through the thread that Nikoleta forwarded in the previous reply, Pix4Dmapper not converting RJPEG images to tiff from Zenmuse H20T and Mavic 2 dual enterprise advanced thermal camera.

Regarding which camera to purchase, I would suggest you to go through the list of supported thermal camera page that you have forwarded and see if anyone of those camera meets your requirements else explore more option with the FLIR camera. We are aware that some of the cameras are no longer available but those are the ones that are tested and work well with our software. As we support FLIR cameras, you can also research more about the available camera sold by FLIR.

Regards,

Thanks for your input.

I’ve read all those threads and then some. I feel like we’ve gotten off topic from the original intent of this post and its intent is getting lost in the weeds.

I understand the limitations of the new DJI thermal cameras, specifically the H20T. But since that is the only thermal camera they offer and you can’t buy the ones that are supported by Pix4D anymore, I made this post to glean what others in the industry are using to generate good thermal data in the Pix4D platform. More specifically what we would be using it for, to do a thermal analysis on a building envelope to spot any anomalies or to do a before and after comparison of a renovation.