Aerial surveillance and remote sensing are nothing new in the world of combat reconnaissance, but they are new tools in the arsenal of the humanitarian relief and development communities. And they are rapidly evolving. Complex, disaster, and rapidly evolving environments all require the capability to promptly collect, analyze, and disseminate critical information that UAVs can gather and exploit in ways and quantities that other resources cannot rival.
Away, but not apart, from wars
In addition to the myriad uses of UAVs in combat environments—including non-kinetic roles—discussed in the previous installation of this series, UAVs can also serve as neutral observers for ceasefire monitoring or other peacekeeping missions.
Unlike data reported by humans, the information collected and conveyed by drones is inherently neutral. When information is delivered based upon objective rather than subjective collection practices, it is easier to make more accurate assessments of issues. The state of affairs depicted in the raw imagery and the resulting analytical products are based on factual observations and serve as a force multiplier and verifier of human-collected information or verbal reports.