Unmanned aircraft have existed for many decades, since the dawn of powered flight. However, they have recently become far more capable because of the advent of cheap, reliable, and small electronics that control flight, collect data, and communicate. These technologies are crucially enabled by the widespread availability of the Global Positioning System, which guides aircraft in flight and situates the data they gather. These aircraft, which range widely in size, cost and endurance, are known as drones, as Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS), Remotely Piloted Aerial Vehicles (RPAVs), and Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS).
There are now more drones than manned aircraft in the world. Most drones are small and inexpensive, but nonetheless possess great power as data-collecting instruments, when properly equipped and used. That data, in the form of images, maps, and other environmental information, can be used by communities to improve the quality and character of their property rights. Drone surveillance can help conservationists to protect endangered wildlife and aid scientists in understanding the changing climate; drone imagery can be used by advocates and analysts to document and deter human rights violations. UAVs can be used by first responders to search for lost people, or to evaluate the extent of damage after natural disasters like earthquakes or hurricanes.
The map of UAV flights is incomplete and not, in the statistical sense, a representative sample. However, it is intended to showcase many of the civil activities that have been accomplished in the last several years using drones. We exclude flights that are exclusively military or commercial in nature, and only illustrate noteworthy flights that have actually been flown.
The regulation of UAVs is changing quickly in some countries; many others still lack a clear regulatory regime.
The map of UAV regulations is New America's effort to gather in a single map the best available information about
the current state of global drone regulation. This map is not meant as legal advice; verify the accuracy and currency
of any regulations we cite yourself before flying a drone. Where possible, we point to up-to-date official government
citations of regulation in English. Where we could not find English-language government sources, we refer to government
sources in languages other than English. Where we could not find such sources, we point to secondary accounts which appear
to be credible. Purely as a heuristic, in countries where the legal regime is unclear, we include references to recent
drone flights which may be indicative of current regulation. When we were unable to find regulations, if possible,
we provide a link directly to the national aviation regulator's website.
This database of regulations is intended as a resource to global development and human rights professionals, drone operators, those seeking to hire drone operators, to regulators seeking to compare their policies with their peers, and to other interested parties.
We invite you to nominate uses of drones you believe ought to be included in the database of flights using by filling out this form. Please send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org with updates to UAV regulations you would like to make us aware of, or errors you may have found anywhere on the site.
These maps are a joint effort of New America's International Security Program and Open Technology Institute. They are part of a larger project which builds on the policy and technical expertise of both programs to provide critical analyses of the challenges facing those who would use drones and other aerial surveillance platforms to combat poverty and insecurity. They are made possible by the generous support of Omidyar Network and Humanity United.
More information gathered by New America’s International Security Program about production of and commerce in drones used primarily for military or intelligence purposes can be found at World of Drones (Military) .
Please direct any queries to email@example.com