Using a thermal camera for outdoor sites is a great choice for protecting perimeters and facilities. Because thermal cameras see heat instead of reflected light, they are an excellent “human detector,” even in complete darkness. They ignore all the movement that triggers alerts with a visible camera, like headlights, reflections and direct sun. And they cover large areas more reliably than visible solutions.
Choose a Thermal Camera Designed for Outdoor Performance
The dynamic nature of the outdoors creates a tough set of challenges for a smart detection system. Changing weather like fog and snow, along with complications like moving traffic, small animals, blowing trash and foliage, make it even more important to choose a thermal camera built for outdoor performance. This way you can ensure high detection reliability with low nuisance alerts.
When considering a thermal camera for your site security, compare the features listed below.
Powerful Thermal Camera Processing
Some smart thermal cameras include powerful video processors with access to the raw thermal video as it leaves the imager. This approach is not common – traditionally, smart cameras have used less-powerful video processors along with compressed video, which reduces most of the scene details – up to 99% of the original data – seriously weakening the camera’s ability to detect and recognize targets.
With thermal cameras that employ sufficient processing on the raw video, 100% of the detail is available for content analysis, improving detection accuracy and reducing nuisance alerts, even in bad conditions like heavy rain.
Longer-range Thermal Cameras Reduce Costs
The same video processing used for accurate detection also gives such thermal cameras extended range and coverage, detecting human-sized targets at ranges that can exceed 600 meters.
As a result, such systems reduce the number of cameras needed for outdoor sites. You can often cut two out every three camera poles and their supporting infrastructure (trenching, networking, power, etc.), lowering overall project costs.
Detect People, Not Distractions
Smart cameras are designed to detect movement, but outside, everything moves. Knowing the actual size of objects lets you create size rules to filter unwanted movement and increase accuracy. This is accomplished with cameras which are geo-registered to the scene.
When you install a geo-registered camera, a simple GUI-based calibration is able to determine the true size of everything in the scene, creating a three-dimensional field of view. Using this information, the camera can ignore small animals, blowing debris, or moving foliage, while detecting human-sized intruders over very large areas with impressive accuracy.
For example, a small animal near the camera will look much larger than a man at 300 meters away, as you can see below.
Using geo-registered calibration, the video analytics can ignore the animal at right while alarming on the distant person on the left. This happens very reliably, even though the animal covers more of the camera’s field of view. The same approach applies to blowing trash and other movement which is always present outdoors.
Hands-Free PTZ Control
PTZ cameras play an important role in a perimeter system, providing an up-close view of a detected target along large perimeters. However, trying to manually steer a PTZ onto target can be like trying to find a needle in a haystack.
For this reason, some smart thermal cameras can automatically direct pan-tilt-zoom (PTZ) cameras to zoom onto the exact location of an alarm in real time. This makes the target large enough to identify, intercept in real time and record video for evidence.
Optimized, All-in-One Thermal Camera
Some camera manufacturers will pre-optimize their video analytics for the specific imager used in the camera. This removes all the tweaking and configuration that’s needed when trying to match one manufacturer’s video analytic software to a different manufacturer’s imager. With all-in-one smart thermal cameras, such time and effort is unnecessary. This saves deployment effort and gives you a very high level of performance.
Stabilization Reduces Nuisance Alerts
Thermal cameras are often deployed along open areas that are naturally impacted by high winds or vibrations. It’s difficult for smart cameras to detect movement in a scene when the whole field of view is also moving from camera shake. Without image stabilization, cameras can be overwhelmed by nuisance alarms or worse, missed detections. This why some smart thermal cameras stabilize the video before analytic rules are applied, reducing nuisance alerts caused by camera motion.
Thermal Cameras from SightLogix
SightLogix offers the following smart thermal camera products.