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Miniature drone / unmanned aerial vehicle / UAV equipped with camera in flight against blue sky with cloudsDrones are commonly used for land monitoring, pollution control and related activities such as “smart” agriculture. Hurdles are encountered, in particular the regulation required to quell privacy and security concerns around non-military drones. Agencies such as the Coast Guard struggle to maintain adequate presence and domain awareness over their vast areas of responsibility; drones act as a substantial force multiplier.

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The US Department of Interior acquired two drones, Raven and T-Hawk, from DOD to conduct proof-of-concept projects and test the drones for environmental monitoring.

Source: National Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Project Office, http://rmgsc.cr.usgs.gov/UAS/.