Thermal Mapping

Can I make thermal maps with DroneDeploy? Yes! Introducing Thermal Live Map.

While DroneDeploy does not support uploading IR images to be processed into orthomosaics and 3D models, we recently developed a special thermal version of Live Map for the DJI XT / XT2 camera!

Thermal Live Map is a DroneDeploy Enterprise feature

Here is an example of a Thermal Live Map of the roof of a hospital that is under construction.

Here is an example of a Thermal Live Map of the roof of a hospital that is under construction.

Required hardware for Thermal Live Map

Thermal Live Map availability is restricted by hardware. Requirements:

  • Sensor: DJI XT, XTR, XT2 (requires the 640x512 configuration with any lens)
  • Drone: DJI M200, M210, or M210 RTK (no other drones are supported at this time)

The Inspire 1 and Inspire 2 are not supported.

Thermal Live Map is only available for iOS devices manufactured in late 2016 or later (iPhone 7 or iPad Air 2 or newer). The newer the device, the better your experience will be.

How to use Thermal Live Map

Thermal Live Map works exactly like normal Live Map. Read the full Live Map walkthrough here.

Getting the best results with Thermal Live Map

The default flight settings will work well for Thermal Live Map and all the normal live map best practices apply. We recommend that you do not fly lower than 150ft (45m) above the object of interest.

When mapping solar panels make sure that your flight plan has legs that are parallel to the rows of panels. Avoid flying during mid-day and times where sunlight is reflected off panels directly toward your camera.

When mapping commercial roofs it is very important that your flight plan is slightly inset from the roof perimeter (see example below). Doing this will greatly reduce mapping artifacts.

For additional tips on drone inspections for commercial roofs, check out this video by FLIR: https://www.flir.com/suas/delta/delta-episode-9/

We also recommend avoiding areas that vary more than 75ft (25m) in elevation. Areas with small hills and buildings shouldn’t be a problem, but buildings or terrain taller than 5 stories (50ft or 15m) may cause stitching problems in the Thermal Live Map.

Tips for improving the quality of your thermal images
It's recommended that you turn on your drone and plug in your XT/XT2 camera so it can warm up for 3-5 minutes. You should also avoid flying in weather with:

  • Wind speeds over 12 mph
  • Humidity over 50%
  • Any kind of precipitation

Analyzing Thermal Live Maps

Annotations and measurements work great with Thermal Live Map. Annotations can be used to mark problem areas like the locations of offline or deficient solar panels. Measuring tools can approximate the scale of water damage on a roof when estimating repair costs.

Annotate problem areas like the bubbling on this roof.

Annotate problem areas like the bubbling on this roof.

Mapping resolution for Thermal Live Map

The resolution (also called ground sampling distance) of a Thermal Live Map depends on your flight altitude and is generally 1/5 of the resolution of an equivalent fully processed DroneDeploy map. This is due to the limited resolution of thermal sensors and for this reason, there is no required downsampling when generating a Live Map from thermal data. This means that Thermal Live Maps have the same resolution as an orthomosaic generated from thermal photos. Here are some resolution examples for different Thermal Live Map altitudes.

Ground Sampling Distance


2.5 in/pixel (6 cm/pixel)


4 in/pixel (10.5 cm/pixel)


6 in/pixel (15 cm/pixel)


6.5 in/pixel (17 cm/pixel)

Does Thermal Live Map use radiometric thermal data?

Whether you’re using the XT, XTR, or XT2, Live Map does not provide exact temperature values. The real-time video stream provided by DJI does not include the temperate values for us to include in your Live Map. If you are using an XTR or XT2 the DroneDeploy app will capture r-jpeg images in flight so you can access these photos on the SD card for detailed radiometric analysis in FLIR tools or FLIR tools+.