Automated thermal imagery analysis platform for multiple pest species


Commonly deployed monitoring techniques (e.g. aerial surveys, camera traps), can be labour intensive, require substantial investment in equipment and personnel, carry safety risks, and rely on indices rather than enumeration. The application of thermal sensors to ecological and wildlife monitoring purposes is a rapidly growing area of investigation.

Thermal sensors have the potential to address common issues associated with traditional survey techniques such as visual acuity and observer fatigue, especially when attempting to detect cryptic targets or surveying large areas. However, recorded observations (thermal or otherwise) still generate hours of footage that requires time consuming and laborious analysis.

Automated computer software systems for detecting and identifying target objects from thermal imagery have the potential to quickly and accurately analyse large imagery datasets. This project will develop an automated thermal imagery analysis models that incorporate artificial intelligence and deep machine learning to further enhance low-cost and time-efficient processing. This work will provide a central analysis platform that is compatible to low, medium and high resolution thermal imagery, and equally accessible to all stakeholders and end-users.




  1. Demonstrate combined computer vision and geolocation software for detecting target objects from thermal imagery.
  2. Develop deep machine learning model for fully autonomous thermal imagery analysis for monitoring multiple pest animal species at a landscape level.
  3. Demonstrate the application of automated thermal imagery analysis for managing multiple pest animal species.
  4. Communicate outcomes and promote end-user uptake of technology.

Project Leader

Dr Peter Adams
Project Team
  • Dr Peter Adams, WA DPIRD
  • Dr Tarnya Cox, NSW DPI
  • Anwaar Ul-Haq, CSU
  • Dr Matt Gentle, QDAF
  • Tom Low, Tomcat technologies
Project Partners
  • QDAF
  • Charles Sturt University
  • Tomcat Technologies

The project receives funding from the Australian Government Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment


February 2021 update:

A proof-of-concept AI software model for detecting multiple species has been achieved. This model has been trained to detect and identify pigs, rabbits and deer from thermal imagery. Further exposure to thermal imagery of these species is integral to training the AI. End user consultations have revealed a need for this software to be deployed in real time during pest animal surveys.

Scientific Publications:

  • Ulhaq A, Adams P, Cox TE, Khan A, Low T and Paul M (2021) ‘Automated Detection of Animals in Low-Resolution Airborne Thermal Imagery’, Remote Sensing, 13(16),