Search & Rescue: Infrared & Drones

From a guest post on by talented Part 107 pilot and writer Kara Murphy.

Drones equipped with thermal imaging cameras can detect changes in temperature. One growing area of interest, that utilizes thermal energy or “heat imaging,” is search and rescue.

Both people and animals can be located thanks to this technology.

The scientific explanation for how this all works is best covered by Wikipedia: “Thermographic cameras detect radiation in the long-infrared range (IR) of the electromagnetic spectrum (roughly 9,000–14,000 nanometers or 9–14 µm) and produce images of that radiation, called thermograms.

Companies also use infrared imaging for roof inspections, firefighting, cell tower inspections, and the detection of hazardous materials (HAZMAT).

Infrared Training Center offers online courses and four-day sUAS Thermography Certification classes. Renowned photographer Chris Knight attended and said it was worth the price ($2,000).


ED NOTES – Other Resources:
1. The ThermoSense Conference, which reports on updates and applications in Thermal Infrared Imaging has been presenting annual conferences around the USA since 1977, most of which have been under the umbrella of the SPIE. Their 2018 Conference is this April in Orlando FL, see

2. The Infrared Training Center (ITC) does a lot of training of thermographers in support to its owner, FLIR Systems, and their customers. FLIR one of the world’s largest manufacturer of thermal imaging equipment and technology both civilian and military.

3. The Infraspection Institute in New Jersey ( has the distinction of being the oldest training course supplier for Infrared Thermographers (since 1987). They feature all aspects of training and are independent of equipment suppliers. They focus on the practical aspects of the technologies involved as well as the business of Infrared thermography services. They also offer certified training courses at the three typical levels of expertise as well as a large number of online courses.

4. Our main website, About Temperature & Moisture Sensors” ( has been providing technical information details and resource links online since 1997. Our web pages on thermal infrared Imaging are located at: We’ve gone further and provide regular news on Thermal Imaging on this site, a survey of articles can be found using our onsite search engine at: A collection of applications success for both Infrared Thermometry (Radiation Thermometry) and Thermal Imaging are cataloged on the website More recently we have been collecting and publishing news from themographers and thermography equipment providers at

3. The Snell Infrared Group is another comprehensive Infrared training organization, independent of equipment suppliers. They offer a wide variety of training courses, Details online at