The Global Emergence of Community Drones (2012–2017)
. The use of drones with or by communities—what we call community drones—has emerged globally over the last decade to serve diverse purposes. Despite a growing academic interest in community drones, most experiences have been documented as gray literature and there are still no publications that review and systematize their use worldwide. Here, we present an overview of the first experiences using community drones—what we refer to as their global emergence (2012–2017). We reviewed gray and
... iewed gray and academic literature in English and Spanish for the period 2012–2017. We then analyzed the experiences according to their location, date, purpose, type of drone(s) used, agent(s) that carried them out, and methodology used for community participation; "good" and "bad" practices were also included when information was available. We reviewed 39 experiences and found that (1) they mostly occurred in Latin America from 2014; (2) commercial and multirotor drones were the most frequently employed; (3) the main purposes were community training to acquire territorial information for improved defense and/or informed decision-making; (4) most initiatives were driven by external agents and communities' allies; (5) the most usual forms of community participation were participatory mapping and training workshops, yet local knowledge was either neglected or little valued to complement drone information; and (6) there were no appropriate practices established for community drone usage. Our study improves the little knowledge we have regarding the global emergence of community drones, its geographic trends, and the existing opportunities and challenges to meet the needs and expectations from community drones. In addition, we provide guidelines for appropriate practices that will be useful for communities and social agents interested in the acquisition, training, and use of drones. We conclude by suggesting new avenues to develop theoretical and methodological approaches in relation to the new field of community drones.