Human Location Isotherm Settings Using DJI FLIR XT Camera on a Matrice 210

As the Wake Forest Fire Department UAS pilot, one of the issues I have to face is dealing with an unplanned event and flying the incident on short notice but provide optimum data gathering abilities and mission accomplishment.

I wish my flights had the luxury of being on the schedule but when the call comes in, I have to go.

The only time I can plan for a flight is to practice scenarios and develop my notebook of guidance and settings in advance of a call. This allows me to pull up at a scene and turn to the page of previously established settings as a good starting point how to setup my UAS equipment.

Garret Bryl of the Joshua Fire Department deserves all the credit for giving me the following specs for human location. I owe him a huge hat tip for the assist.

Now, you must keep in mind the FLIR XT camera has no idea what any item is. It can only measure temperature so the settings below are set for the range of human heat emission. And there is a seemingly unlimited number of issues that can influence this. In FLIR my experience is there is nothing that is absolute that will blink HUMAN FOUND.

Everything you do in setting up your FLIR camera for a fire department mission flight is only in order to help you generate the best data to interpret so you can make informed decisions that will be best for the situation at hand.

The video above was shot just after sunset and into darkness with a FLIR 336 13mm camera in position 1 on the DJI Matrice 210 and using the GO app.

As you can see in the short video, some objects are stationary but registering in the isotherm range set but other objects are clearly identified as probable human targets.

Using Garret’s settings the view is significantly filtered to make the targets worth investigating.

You will also notice in the video at the bottom of the screen my height when shooting this is often just below 400 feet AGL. So flying high I can be much more confident of obstacle avoidance and still get “hits” on good targets worth investigating.

The Isotherm Settings Used

Mission Type: Missing Person

ROI Setting: 50%

Pallette Setting: MidRangeWHIso (Garret)

Scene Setting: Outdoor

ISO Settings: (Garret)
High: = 100F
Mid: = 90F
Low: = As low as ambient temperature will allow without noise.

Gain Setting: Auto

FEC Setting: Auto

Notes: (Garret) “The low is usually between 75F and 85F. Above 85, it’s usually time to turn Isotherm off.

The human head usually emits around 100, extremities in the low 90s. If we can get the low below 80, the clothes will usually indicate on Isotherm as well.”

Note: The video above was shot at the following settings.

My version of the DJI Go app does not have a fahrenheit option so everything must be converted to celsius.

Your Feedback is Appreciated

If you have some isotherm settings you’d like to share or I can be of assistance to you in your fire department aviation operations, please contact me using the form below.


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