Because the hardware interfaces of IR cameras change frequently, this infrared (IR) camera software suite (RTools™) consists of a set of stand-alone, executable modules known as RDac™, RCal™, RPro™, and RView™. The modular structure simplifies maintenance and upgrades, and enables end-users to obtain only the components they need for their application.

Together the modules provide the capability to acquire, radiometrically calibrate, process, and analyze data from multiple types of high-end IR cameras. The software realizes spatial and temporal radiometric data in units of absolute or contrast radiance, irradiance, radiant intensity, and temperature.

This IR camera software suite uses stand-alone modules to minimize the impact of changes to camera interfaces. The RView module (top left) provides image review, reduction, analysis, and report generation. The RDac module (bottom right) acquires and stores IR images to a PC hard drive in real-time.

The RDac module provides end-users with a tool to acquire and store IR images to a PC hard drive in real-time. The modular architecture allows RDac to be compatible with over ten IR camera types and several commercially available frame grabbers, and still be relatively easy to maintain. RDac's exclusivity also allows for significant upgrades to its capability without jeopardizing the integrity of the mathematical calculations needed for the IR image calibration, processing, and analysis functions performed by RCal, RPro, and RView, respectively.

RCal is used in conjunction with RDac for radiometric and thermographic camera calibration. As a standalone entity, RCal has proven to be useful for not only IR camera calibration, but also for calibration of any instrument that acquires banded IR data.

RPro is basically a graphical programming language (GPL) that performs batch-mode IR image processing. In contrast to the other modules, the image processing utility was designed to be a stand-alone module due to its distinct graphical user interface (GUI). RView is used for image review, reduction, analysis, and report generation.

RTools utilizes the Standard Archive File (SAF) format maintained by the U.S. Air Force for radiometric instrumentation, which presents some challenges because it is not as widely used and accepted as other standards, such as MPEG or JPEG. However, the benefits of being able to use the SAF file format's radiometric capabilities far outweigh its shortcomings.

This article was written by Brian Cromwell, director of the Advanced Systems division of Indigo Systems Corporation located in Niceville, FL. For more information, please visit or contact Aileen Wrench of Indigo Systems at (805)964-9797 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Photonics Tech Briefs Magazine

This article first appeared in the October, 2003 issue of Photonics Tech Briefs Magazine.

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