There is a wide range of thermal imaging FLIR cameras that are developed specifically for drones. See this link for available models.
Still photograph camera
Conservation Drones have been equipped with Canon’s IXUS 220 HS, Powershot SX230 HS, Powershot SX260 HS and Powershot S100 cameras. The latter three cameras have a built-in GPS. We replaced the original firmware of these Canon cameras with a Canon Hack Development Kit (chdk.wikia.com). This ‘hacked’ firmware allows us to implement a customized intervalometer script (click to download) to command the camera to take photographs at 1-second time intervals. We suggest the following settings in the camera’s menu:
GPS Settings (camera’s ‘native’ menu)
GPS Logger: OFF
GPS-Settings (CHDK menu)
To compensate for movement of the drone in flight, we recommend setting the camera for ‘shutter priority‘ (Tv) and at a speed of > f 1/1000. Under this setting, our test photographs effectively avoided motion blur.
Documentation of camera set-up by Dronemapper.com:
- Detailed CHDK firmware installation instructions (Link)
- Detailed graphical instructions on optimal CHDK settings (Link)
- Guidelines on aerial data collection and flight planning (Link)
See more high resolution photographs here: Flickr link
The Conservation Drone can also be equipped with a video camera. We have been using the GoPro series of cameras for our drones. In our opinion, the latest GoPro Hero 3 Black Edition has the best video quality of all the action cameras we have tested so far. It even has a wifi feature that allows ‘live’ preview on an iOS device. The GoPro camera can be attached to the drones in various placements.
Other video cameras
We have also used a ContourGPS video camera, which has similar specifications as the GoPro. The ContourGPS also allow for video mapping using its built-in GPS.
Thermal imaging camera
We have been testing themal imaging cameras on some of our drones. This is a test of a FLIR HS-324 thermal camera (320 x 240 resolution) carried by a Maja drone.
This is another FLIR model, a PS-32, carried by a quadcopter.
This next video demonstrates the ability of the FLIR PS-32 to pick up animals from a distance of about 10-15 meters.