New America launches new database of drone regulation and civil use of drones

WASHINGTON, DC — New America is pleased to announce the public release of “World of Drones,” comprising two new databases, of drone regulation and civil drone use, which can be found at: drones.newamerica.org.

As drones have grown cheaper and more capable, they are becoming much more common. Nevertheless, until today, drone users have not had a single destination with up-to-date information about worldwide drone regulations. This site fills that gap. In some countries, the regulation of UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles) is quickly changing; many others still lack a clear regulatory regime. The map of UAV regulations is New America's effort to gather in a single place the best available information about the current state of global drone regulation.

The new website also includes a database of over 120 civil drone projects that is meant to illustrate the diverse uses of drones in disaster response, mapping efforts, environmental monitoring, and other applications. It includes examples like mapmaking drone flights made by Peruvian archaeologists and by an NGO that worked with Guyanese villagers, the UAV response to the earthquake earlier this year in Nepal, and efforts by UN peacekeepers in the Democratic Republic of the Congo to use drones to protect civilians.

Both databases will be updated regularly. Drone users, regulators, and interested members of the public are invited to proactively inform New America of developments via a web form (available here) or by sending an email to civil-drones@newamerica.org.

“These databases will be a valuable resource both for people seeking to fly drones and for those seeking to understand what drones are capable of accomplishing,” said Peter Bergen, New America Vice President, and Director of the International Security and Future of War programs.  

These maps are a joint effort of New America's International Security Program and Open Technology Institute. They are part of a larger project that 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 with support from Omidyar Network and Humanity United.

This work is the latest chapter in New America's broader work in analyzing the impact of drones, including analyses of the production and export of military drones.