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: 39515

Comment by Esa Attia on November 27, 2012 at 9:15pm

Hi All,

Here is another Australian UAV Research Group  (Australian Centre for Field Robotics) doing some UAV work in the Agricultural Sector  


Comment by Duran - ALTI on November 28, 2012 at 12:54am

We've just been out for an aerial project in partnership with Cape Nature here in South Africa!

The mission - to capture aerial images of a breeding Black Wing Gull colony here in the Garden Route via our SteadiDrone X6

Traditionally Cape Nature has to go in by foot with a with people, dressed in peculiar outfits for protection from the diving agressive gulls, and usually the birds get freaked and start killing each other etc, so its not very subtle but needs to be done for conservation. Our initial test flights this morning went very well using our X6 and ArduPilot, flew the mapp 100% and the birds, although on take off the seagulls go after it like bait but soon settle down once we're up a little higher, around 50m for this mapping (photos of fairly small objects)

Tomorrow we'll do the actuall shooting and hopefully it all goes well. It's a very exciting project for us, as we mostly do commerical film work, this is a very nice change and has such potential in nature conservation.

Will post some images soon!


Duran + SteadiDrone team

PS, below is the area we are covering, about 1km long and 200m wide.

Comment by Gary Mortimer on November 28, 2012 at 1:34am

Oh I remembered pollution monitoring that River of Blood story

Comment by Andrew Bremer on November 28, 2012 at 1:57am

They are using UAV's to combat Tree Rot up in Scotland as well: 


Comment by Guto Santaella on November 28, 2012 at 9:13am

Chris, UAVs can also be used for electricity generation:


Guto Santaella

Comment by Adrian Eves on November 29, 2012 at 12:43pm
Comment by Andrew Fernie on November 30, 2012 at 4:14pm

Montreal, April 11, 2012 – (NYSE: CAE; TSX: CAE) – CAE and Aeronautics today announced that the first series of flights of the Miskam unmanned aerial system (UAS) have been conducted successfully over the past several weeks at the UAS Centre of Excellence (Centre d'excellence des drones) located at Alma airport in Quebec, Canada.

The demonstration flights represent the first phase of a research and development (R&D) project aimed at demonstrating how unmanned systems can be used for civil applications such as remote inspection of pipelines and hydroelectric installations, surveillance of forest fires, observation of critical natural resources, assessing natural disasters and a range of other applications.  Full link here.

Comment by Anderl on December 1, 2012 at 3:36am

Here another example of use in archeology,


Also useful in Infrastructure Inspection.


Comment by Eugene Potapov on December 1, 2012 at 9:07pm

Surveys of the nest of the Steller's Sea Eagles (the largest eagle in the world) in the Magadan State Nature Reserve, North-East Siberia, Russia https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-qGmP0rdPfA

and the national TV news on the topic (sorry, in Russian) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xZfBEZtnGb8

or https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uOJeqLT31zA

Comment by Ryan on December 2, 2012 at 9:54pm

Used mine today to locate a model rocket in a field. Was fun and useful. 


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