Going thermal

As features are enhanced and prices decline, the technology is finding wider application

With the number of thermal imaging system options expanding, it is important to know the salient technical characteristics and features to consider in order to select a product that will meet the requirements of a specific application. Drew Stone, international sales manager for ICx Technologies, says that the detector or pixel size is directly related to image quality — similar to the number of pixels in a digital image from a visible light camera. The smaller the detector size — normally measured in microns — the higher the pixel count and therefore resolution.

Chris Corsbie, director of marketing and communions for DRS Technologies, emphasizes the need for rugged and highly reliable systems, often arising out initial product development for military applications.

Dave Lee, marketing communications editor for FLIR, adds that the specifics of the project, including the environment, topography, target types and range requirements must be carefully considered when evaluating the suitability of a specific thermal imaging camera. Lee also included the availability of technical support and factory-trained technicians as important factor in selecting a particular manufacturer.

While not providing the high-resolution color images that we have come to rely on for the majority of our CCTV applications, thermal imaging CCTV provides the ability to obtain video images in no-light situations that are well-suited for video analytic applications. As their prices continue to decline, thermal imaging cameras will clearly find wider application.

Randall R. Nason, PE, CPP, is a corporate vice president and manager of the Security Consulting Group at C.H. Guernsey & Co. His experience spans a broad spectrum of the security profession including risk assessment and strategic security master plan development through complete system design, construction management, and design-led build projects. He has also recently designed and conducted full scale emergency response exercises for a federal agency. He is currently developing electronic security system related technical manuals, specifications, and training courses for the U.S. Army.