Public Lab Wiki documentation

Thermal photography

Host a Goal Setting Workshop

by stevie 4 months ago | 0 | 269 | 0

Setting Goals starts with listening to individual interests and priorities and helps groups to ...

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Investigating Thermal Properties of Rooftops Using Aerial Mapping

by sdepolo 10 months ago | 0 | 199 | 1

Our group set out to collect data on the thermal properties of rooftops at the Thacher campus u...

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Analyzing Thacher Insulation: an Aerial Thermal Mapping Project

by NIKIBOPOLOUS 10 months ago | 0 | 158 | 1

Analyzing Thacher Insulation: an Aerial Thermal Mapping Project By Anthony, Reese, and Bob May ...

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Public Lab Community Newsletter: December 2016

by klie about 1 year ago | 0 | 406 | 3

We've relaunched the newsletter and will be sending it out monthly, in addition to sharing it on...

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New possibilities for a low-cost gas camera

by loganw over 1 year ago | 9 | 467 | 3

This is an extension of the [research started by Mathew Lippincot](

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Kite Aerial Remote Sensing (KARS) - Thermal Infra-Red.

by John_Wells over 1 year ago | 8 | 602 | 4

In 2013 we formalised our donations of aerial photograph...

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Riffle Beta project - Methane Gas Sensor

by Bob almost 2 years ago | 3 | 772 | 6

Leaking natural gas infrastructure is a known problem. ...

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Signal To Noise Ratio data graphs on various slit width's

by dhaffnersr almost 2 years ago | 3 | 1,146 | 0

Here is an excel spread sheet graph on the various slit width's that we use: [![

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More research on "thermal-photography" »

Title Last edited Edits Likes
Thermal photography 6 months ago by warren 68 6
Thermal Flashlight 6 months ago by warren 7 0
Posters almost 4 years ago by Sara 31 5
Scanning thermal camera about 4 years ago by warren 3 1
Thermal Fishing Bob: PLOTS Boston Toolshed Raising over 4 years ago by Sara 9 0
May 26th AS220 Thermal Flashlight Workshop almost 6 years ago by Sara 5 0

Thermal infrared cameras are designed to take photos or videos of heat (not to be confused with near infrared cameras). Some of these are tuned specifically for gases, and can be used to image #methane.


Thermal imaging can be used to document heat/AC leaks from insulation gaps on a building's facade, reveal warmer ground water inflows (either fresh or chemical-laden) or "thermal pollution" from industrial processes entering ocean-temperature waterbodies, as well as identify areas on the human body experiencing infection or stress (includes epidemiological applications).

Specific models of FLIR brand cameras, known as the FLIR GasFinder ( See GasFinder below for more.

Community applications so far include both a "heat-busters" program in East Harlem and a "forensic" water quality monitoring program in the Gowanus Canal.


Title Author Updated Likes
What gases can a FLIR GasFinder (OGI) infrared camera detect? @warren 6 months ago
Does anyone have a FLIR Optical Gas Imaging camera to lend to help a community find gas leaks? @warren 6 months ago
Seeking DC-area folks interested in building temperature sensors for urban heat island measurement @carohowe 8 months ago
Investigating thermal properties of paved surfaces using grassroots mapping approaches. @Rmeyer 11 months ago
Question: Would the Thermal Fishing Bob concept work as a SeaGlider robot? @ajawitz almost 3 years ago

Ask a question  or help answer future questions

DIY Approaches

There are three Do-It-Yourself prototypes in development to try to do this more cheaply than the off-the-shelf options. These projects were started a few years ago and may not be active:

  • A Thermal Flashlight: a RGB LED flashlight with a non-contact infrared sensor that "paints" the temperature of the surface directly on the wall for capture with a second timelapse camera.
  • A Thermal Fishing Bob: dragging a thermometer through the water, taking contact measurements mapped to a RGB light, also for capture with a second timelapse camera.
  • A scanning thermal camera on a LEGO turntable (software also in development) that sweeps back and forth across a scene, recording the temperature variation to build up an image.


Why make a DIY version? "FLIR" cameras can produce images such as the one below, and are typically used to identify heat leaks, but even low-resolution FLIR cameras can cost thousands of dollars. The goal of these DIY thermal camera projects is to make this kind of investigation (and the potential savings) cheap, easy, fun, and informative for those of us without $10k in our pockets.

FLIR house


Purpose Category Status Author Time Difficulty Replications
Kite Aerial Remote Sensing (KARS) - Thermal Infra-Red. - - @John_Wells - - 0 replications: Try it »
Analyzing Thacher Insulation: an Aerial Thermal Mapping Project - - @NIKIBOPOLOUS - - 0 replications: Try it »
Rent FLIR thermal infrared cameras at some Home Depots - - @warren - - 0 replications: Try it »

Add an activity  or request an activity

Activities should include a materials list, costs and a step-by-step guide to construction with photos. Learn what makes a good activity here.

thermal-photography thermal-flashlight urban-planning thermal-camera thermal-fishing-bob methane indiawaterportal tool method

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