Factors Influencing Temperature Measurements from Miniaturized Thermal Infrared (TIR) Cameras: A Laboratory-Based Approach

Quanxing Wan*, Benjamin Brede, Magdalena Smigaj, Lammert Kooistra

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)


The workflow for estimating the temperature in agricultural fields from multiple sensors needs to be optimized upon testing each type of sensor’s actual user performance. In this sense, readily available miniaturized UAV-based thermal infrared (TIR) cameras can be combined with proximal sensors in measuring the surface temperature. Before the two types of cameras can be operationally used in the field, laboratory experiments are needed to fully understand their capabilities and all the influencing factors. We present the measurement results of laboratory experiments of UAV-borne WIRIS 2nd GEN and handheld FLIR E8-XT cameras. For these uncooled sensors, it took 30 to 60 min for the measured signal to stabilize and the sensor temperature drifted continuously. The drifting sensor temperature was strongly correlated to the measured signal. Specifically for WIRIS, the automated non-uniformity correction (NUC) contributed to extra uncertainty in measurements. Another problem was the temperature measurement dependency on various ambient environmental parameters. An increase in the measuring distance resulted in the underestimation of surface temperature, though the degree of change may also come from reflected radiation from neighboring objects, water vapor absorption, and the object size in the field of view (FOV). Wind and radiation tests suggested that these factors can contribute to the uncertainty of several Celsius degrees in measured results. Based on these indoor experiment results, we provide a list of suggestions on the potential practices for deriving accurate temperature data from radiometric miniaturized TIR cameras in actual field practices for (agro-)environmental research.
Original languageEnglish
Article number8466
Issue number24
Publication statusPublished - 18 Dec 2021


  • Ambient environment
  • Calibration
  • FLIR
  • Non-uniformity correction
  • Radiometric
  • Sensor temperature
  • Stabilization
  • Temperature
  • Thermal infrared
  • UAV


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