discussion / Drones  / 21 September 2018

Thermal imaging, drones, and loggerhead sea turtles: a #tech4wildlife case study using FLIR's new Duo Pro R camera


Megan Ossmann (@meganossmann) shared with us a neat case study that is relevant to this group, In it, she documents her work with @Eric+Becker testing out FLIR’s new Duo Pro R thermal camera as a detection tool for loggerhead sea turtle nests. 

 This past April, FLIR Systems, a leader in the thermal-imaging world, released a camera that combines both thermal tech and UAV applications in one innovative package: the FLIR Duo Pro R. Designed to be mounted on a drone, the Duo Pro R combines a high resolution, radiometric thermal imager, 4K color camera, and full suite of onboard sensors. The camera is capable of capturing both visible and thermal data in a single flight, as well as automatically geo-tagging each captured image. 

In July, I flew down to the Florida panhandle to join Eric Becker, WWF’s in-house Conservation Engineer, in testing out the Duo Pro R. Being surrounded by marine life, we decided to test whether it was possible for the thermal camera to detect sea turtle nests on the beach. This idea stemmed from literature stating that the area containing a nest will typically be 1-2o F warmer than the surrounding sand, particularly at the late stages of incubation 

@Rob+Appleby had some questions about the methodology over on twitter.

Great work Megan and Eric. I was interested to see the restriction of the temperature range you were able to achieve in Round 3. Is this post-processed in the Flir software, and, can it be done with video do you know, as it's such a useful feature?

— Rob Appleby (@wildspyrob) September 20, 2018

I'm fairly certain neither Megan or Eric are active on twitter but they are here, so I'm starting this thread to give a space to allow Megan and Eric to field questions like this about their approach. @meganossmann , do you want to jump in here and take up rob's question? 


Thank you @Rob+Appleby ! Yes, this was post-processed very easily in the FLIR software. I'm not sure if if can be done with video- that's something @Eric+Becker may know. In the coming months I may experiment with creating a tool in ArcGIS to read/analyze the temperature of the pixels, as an alternative to using the FLIR software. If this is something of interest I will gladly follow up!

Hi Megan, 

Thanks so much for your reply. I have a colleague using a Vue Pro R, which just produces the thermal images, but we've never tried the FLIR software. Is it the free or subscription version? Any extra information could be really helpful. And yes, an ArcGIS extension sounds really interesting. The higher resolution capable FLIRs coupled with the ability to restrict the temperature range used in the colour palette could make for some much easier detections, both manually and with AI. Very interesting stuff both you and @Eric Becker are doing and please do keep us posted.





Hi Megan, We are based in Caloundra, Queensland Australia and volunteer for Turtlecare under the Sunshine Coast Council and came up with an idea about searching nests that we could not locate and discovered that Megan had already started an idea and case study on this using thermal imaging.
Is this still ongoing, did it work as I am looking at doing something similar here.
Thanks Darren