I am playing around with an idea of using a near infrared camera to fly transects to count animals on the ground. I have been involved in such work earlier, but on bigger mammals and observer based from small planes only.

Does anyone know if a near infrared camera on a drone could give images which could give indications on the presence of an animal being warmer than the surrounding ground? The initial animals in question are birds (for example grouse) on the ground with late autumn temperatures (0-5 degrees centigrade). Other animals and background temperatures could be considered.

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    Although on the periphery of GIS this question appears to be off-topic because it is about hardware advice and/or signal processing - it may be better suited to Signal Processing or another Stack Exchange site (if anyone has suggestions as to which). – PolyGeo Sep 3 '13 at 23:43
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    I voted to reopen: Signal Processing is unsuited for handling questions relating to environmental remote sensing. – Aaron Jul 31 '14 at 22:16

It is possible and actually in practice. For example, Owyhee Air Research conducts wildlife surveys using aircraft mounted Forward Looking Infrared (FLIR) Sensors. The following is a video link highlighting the capabilities of using FLIR for grouse surveys:


The screenshot shows a Sagegrouse lek filmed in 1080p from a fixed wing aircraft .5 miles away.

enter image description here

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    I was involved in evaluating this effort and for it to be useful, you need to apply an occupancy model. This is data from a fairly open system, data collected in an area with vegetation occlusion may prove considerably more problematic. – Jeffrey Evans Jan 3 '16 at 15:47

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