What are Drones?


Drones are unmanned aerial vehicles that are controlled autonomously by computers or pilots with remote controls. They were innovated in the early 1900s for military personnel training and typically leveraged in operations that are too dangerous or time-consuming for humans. Still most commonly used for military purposes, drones have been deployed for a wide range of tasks, such as policing and community surveillance and security, filmmaking, and the surveying of agriculture and crops. In the past century, drone technology has advanced users’ abilities to extensively view objects and landscapes below, as well as to detect changes in environmental conditions. Features including biological and chemical sensors, electromagnetic spectrum sensors, and infrared cameras make these detailed observations possible. While legal and ethical concerns have been raised by many over the prospect of constantly being monitored by these vehicles, new civil aviation programs and experiments that include drones reflect a growing use of the technology. There are not yet concrete applications for teaching and learning, but the continuous progress of drones in the military.

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(1) How might this technology be relevant to academic and research libraries?

  • I see two main ways for this technology to be relevant to libraries in the short-term: 1) delivery of materials to offices/labs, etc. and 2) loaning drones just as libraries have loaned iPads, cameras, and other technology equipment.- JoanLippincott JoanLippincott Apr 4, 2015 - Sam Sam Apr 16, 2015- dianeb dianeb Apr 9, 2015 I could see the library loaning drones but may we never use them in a library in my lifetime. I see them as too invasive in a library and too distractive.
  • Possible use for loans in academic libraries - potential use for photography, field work, art, geology, architecture, psychogeography! - DaveP DaveP Apr 14, 2015 - mylee.joseph mylee.joseph Apr 19, 2015 Nice! More ideas below. - mstephens7 mstephens7 Apr 18, 2015~
  • - ahaar ahaar Apr 25, 2015 I also see librarians being able to help in the area of preserving, cataloguing, and indexing access to the eventual TBs of drone footage. This links very strongly to the evolving nature of the scholarly record, open educational resources, and new forms of mulitdisciplinary research.

(2) What themes are missing from the above description that you think are important?

  • The description says there are not concrete applications in teaching and learning, but I think that this is a narrow view. In the fields mentioned in the description like agriculture and photography, there are applications and therefore there will be a need to include this technology as a tool in learning about technologies/methodologies in the discipline.- JoanLippincott JoanLippincott Apr 4, 2015
  • Agree there are wide applications to consider, even to teach about surveillance society - DaveP DaveP Apr 14, 2015 - ahaar ahaar Apr 25, 2015 I think this is an important point as we are repurposing something designed for the military into an educational tool, which brings with it values of transparency, critical thinking, etc.
  • As well as areas related to crisis informatics, disaster preparedness, and journalism. - mstephens7 mstephens7 Apr 18, 2015

(3) What do you see as the potential impact of this technology on academic and research libraries?

  • Potential for practical applications of running libraries, building design, UX observation - DaveP DaveP Apr 14, 2015
  • Any academic library supporting archaeology teaching faculty and researchers is likely to be handling drone gathered image files and research data sets - mylee.joseph mylee.joseph Apr 19, 2015- JoanLippincott JoanLippincott Apr 20, 2015 - ahaar ahaar Apr 25, 2015 not just archaeology, also the art and design fields. We have seen a significant increase in drone use by our artists, designers and architects.

(4) Do you have or know of a project working in this area?