The International Archives of the Photogrammetry, Remote Sensing and Spatial Information Sciences
Publications Copernicus
Articles | Volume XLIII-B1-2020
06 Aug 2020
 | 06 Aug 2020


A. Sledz, J. Unger, and C. Heipke

Keywords: UAV, Photogrammetry, Thermal infrared imaging, Distributed heating network

Abstract. District Heating Systems (DHS) distribute heat in terms of hot water or steam. Loss of media (water or steam), and thus energy, is expensive and has a negative impact on the environment. It is therefore of great interest to develop techniques to detect and localize potential leakages fast and cost-effectively. To avoid interference with the operating process of a DHS, airborne thermography comes into place. The use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) as a flexible and low-cost platform equipped with a Thermal InfraRed (TIR) camera is a promising alternative to a conventional manned flight.

This paper describes a method for automatic thermal anomaly detection of a DHS. Thermal data acquisition using a UAV is followed by photogrammetric processing of the TIR images. In this way, a thermal orthophoto is produced. The next step is an identification of anomalies by means of image analysis. We apply the Laplacian of Gaussian (LoG) blob detector to find high temperature regions in areas of interest of a thermal orthomosaic. This area of interest is defined around the DHS position in the images as defined in a Geographic Information System. Finally, segmentation and classification are employed to reduce false alarms and localize thermal anomalies. An experimental evaluation using real-world data is presented, showing that the developed method deliverers promising results.