5 October 2017 Automatic visibility retrieval from thermal camera images
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This study presents an automatic visibility retrieval of a FLIR A320 Stationary Thermal Imager installed on a measurement tower on the mountain Lagern located in the Swiss Jura Mountains. Our visibility retrieval makes use of edges that are automatically detected from thermal camera images. Predefined target regions, such as mountain silhouettes or buildings with high thermal differences to the surroundings, are used to derive the maximum visibility distance that is detectable in the image. To allow a stable, automatic processing, our procedure additionally removes noise in the image and includes automatic image alignment to correct small shifts of the camera. We present a detailed analysis of visibility derived from more than 24000 thermal images of the years 2015 and 2016 by comparing them to (1) visibility derived from a panoramic camera image (VISrange), (2) measurements of a forward-scatter visibility meter (Vaisala FD12 working in the NIR spectra), and (3) modeled visibility values using the Thermal Range Model TRM4. Atmospheric conditions, mainly water vapor from European Center for Medium Weather Forecast (ECMWF), were considered to calculate the extinction coefficients using MODTRAN. The automatic visibility retrieval based on FLIR A320 images is often in good agreement with the retrieval from the systems working in different spectral ranges. However, some significant differences were detected as well, depending on weather conditions, thermal differences of the monitored landscape, and defined target size.
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Céline Dizerens, Céline Dizerens, Beat Ott, Beat Ott, Peter Wellig, Peter Wellig, Stefan Wunderle, Stefan Wunderle, } "Automatic visibility retrieval from thermal camera images", Proc. SPIE 10432, Target and Background Signatures III, 104320L (5 October 2017); doi: 10.1117/12.2278652; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2278652

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