Unlike regular cameras that produce images based on the light present in the area, thermal imaging cameras depend solely on the heat or radiation that an object emits. Because of this, they can operate even in poor or zero visibility conditions. This makes them ideal for various security related purposes. Not surprisingly, many Australians have begun using these devices to enhance their perimeter security.
Many people might have come across the images produced by a thermal camera. These people might have observed that these images feature a single colour channel. The manufacturers of these cameras usually provide these colour ranges to enable the viewers to determine the temperature levels of the image. As such, the brightest parts of the image will correspond to the warmest areas. Thus, any white portions in the image will be the warmest areas of the object caught on the camera. Similarly, relatively cooler areas will feature the colours red and yellow. The cooler the temperature of the object on camera, the darker the colour its image will feature. Therefore, the coolest areas of the image will usually be black in colour. Many thermal imaging devices provide colour scales right next to the image. These scales correspond to various temperature ranges that enable the viewer to discern the temperature range of the object.
The similarities in infrared thermography and night vision have led many people to use the two terms interchangeably. However, both terms denote different things. Night vision devices operate on the principle of light amplification. As such, in a totally dark environment, night vision devices would yield no images. This is because these devices would have little or no light for amplifying. In contrast, thermal image cameras typically provide thermal images based on the heat emitted by the objects. Many people use these devices to identify people trapped in smoke-filled buildings. Others use these devices for detecting the presence of pests and rodents (such as termites) in their properties.