Examples of Non-Military, Non-Police use of Drones (please add your own)

One of the things I get asked most often about by the press is for examples of non-military, non-police use of drones. Part of our function here at DIY Drones is to educate the public about civilian and peaceful uses of drones, so I'm always happy to reel off some examples, from agriculture to Hollywood (aside from the main reason we do it here, which is education and fun).  Atmel has also created a great list of "18 ways that drones are being used today", which illuminates how broad their non-military applications are.  

But to make it easier to get the word out, I've started a repository of such uses, below. I'll link to this post from the front page of DIY Drones. Please add your own examples and suggestions (including categories I may have missed) in the comments, and I'll update the post to include them as they come in.

Examples of Non-Military, Non-Police use of Drones


Search and Rescue



Wildlife management


News reporting

Real Estate


Delivering Medicine

Human Rights Monitoring

Communications networks

And lots more in the comments below and at the DC Area Drone User group

Views: 39117

Comment by Antonius Lourenço Kasbergen on November 26, 2012 at 8:46am

Could you change the link for the "Gates Founding founding" because it leads to a ANTI-VACCINE site and I think the opinion about vaccines in that post is just plain wrong, vaccines saves people and thats it.

There is a lot of sites that carry the same news about gates foundation and medicine drones not entering the anti-vac "controversy" 

Comment by Leszek Pawlowicz on November 26, 2012 at 11:14am

Two examples of useful drone work in research cut short by FAA regulations. Monitoring cormorant populations in Oregon:


And monitoring salmon runs in the Snake River in Idaho:


The second one is just nuts. They had two helicopter crashes, one with fatalities, and were looking to use hexacopters as a substitute. They flew in Snake River Canyon, 20-30 meters above the river, no other aircraft anywhere nearby, and the FAA still shut them down.

Comment by Matthew Schroyer on November 26, 2012 at 1:40pm

Hi Chris,

On your list, under "News Reporting," could you add DroneJournalism.org?

We've been working on incorporating drones into data-driven journalism since December 2011. Some of our drone journalism developers have come a long way in terms of obtaining aerial photos, videos, and photomaps.


Comment by Ellison Chan on November 26, 2012 at 4:57pm

I guess it's ok to harass whales, using drones, as long as it's in the name of Oceanic Preservation.

3D Robotics
Comment by Chris Anderson on November 26, 2012 at 9:35pm

Marc, Curt: Thanks! Added.

3D Robotics
Comment by Chris Anderson on November 26, 2012 at 9:37pm

Matthew: Thanks! Added..

3D Robotics
Comment by Chris Anderson on November 26, 2012 at 9:40pm

Antonius: Yikes! I was skimming that too fast and didn't notice the source. Very sorry! Fixed.

Comment by Johanna Claussen on November 27, 2012 at 4:16am

Here is another example for scientific application: Erosion Monitoring


Comment by Bob Roach on November 27, 2012 at 5:36am
Comment by Leszek Pawlowicz on November 27, 2012 at 8:42am

Check this DIYDrones forum post:


Description of drones being used for high-resolution terrain mapping, to determine the volume of material removed during mining operations.


You need to be a member of DIY Drones to add comments!

Join DIY Drones

© 2019   Created by Chris Anderson.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service