Thermal camera sales people often advocate the “snap & go” method of thermography. This is where you just take your images in the field and analyze them later. Is this always a good idea?
No, it is not always a good idea. Doing your analysis in the field does slow you down, true, but this has other advantages. Thermography is not just about what we see in the camera, we must use our eyes, ears and every available tool at our disposal. Thermography is NOT yet an olympic sport, and there are no gold medals for doing it quickly. It is however very important to do the thermography correctly, and come up with the right answers. To do this often means slowing down, and taking note of other things. It is also very important to have all the required information at hand when you sit down to write your report, and as so many of us write reports off-site, if we forget something, it is difficult to sort this out sitting in front of our computer. Just stop for a moment to take note, and often you will notice something that was not so obvious, a sound, a smell or maybe even discoloration. These can be very important pieces of information, and are often key in working out exactly what is going on. Doing you analysis in the field also helps you notice if your images are slightly out of focus, or need to be tuned. While some of these things can be done on the computer, it is better to notice them when you still have the ability to save a new image.