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Top 5 Uses for Drones as a private investigator

A Drone can be defined as a remotely controlled pilotless aircraft

Over the past decade the technology available to a Private Investigator has changed dramatically.
Smart phones, Social media, Google (Search, Maps, Earth and Street view) has revolutionized the way a Private Investigator plans investigations and operates in the field.

One of the most recent and controversial changes was when cameras decided to fly – Also known as Drones also known as a Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs).  A Drone can be defined as a remotely controlled pilotless aircraft.

These days Drones are affordable, reliable and have excellent picture/video quality. They can fly autonomously, they can see what people can’t and they are incredibly easy to use.  Drones can also be used for commercial purposes whereby the user must obtain at minimum a Remote Pilot Licence or (RePL).

There are many reasons for commercial drone flights including surveying, photography, conservation, search and rescue, event coverage and construction planning.

Private Investigators are also beginning to adopt the technology.

As a Private Investigator and an RePl holder, here are my top 5 uses for Drones.

1. Spot Checks

It’s useful to know as much as possible about an area as possible before I arrive, however some areas are much more wary than others. Rural areas in particular.

Instead of having to drive passed a place with my vehicle or walk passed and risk being seen, we can put the drone up to 120 metres in the air in a safe and legal way, get the information I need and set it back down within a matter of minutes or less.

2. Gathering Evidence

Whether it be finding evidence of stolen property, or catching someone doing something they shouldn’t be, a drone can be a great way of gathering video or photographs at a safe distance whilst seeing more than ever before, whilst remaining discreet.

The image and video quality from any decent drone is as good if not better than most smart phone devices and will be more than enough to provide evidence in most cases.

3. Difficult Terrain

Often times on large scale rural jobs you find yourself outside of the comfort of your office or vehicle and you may even find yourself walking large distances to get to where you need to be. Having a drone with you is an excellent tool for a number of reasons. You may want to send a drone a little ahead of yourself to find the best route, if there even is one.

Lost? Send the drone up in the air for a much better view of the way back to a land mark or main road you recognize.

4. Search and Rescue

The ability of drones to see far and wide is something that is denied to the investigator on foot. This makes a Drone a perfect ally. When people are lost, injured or in distress it’s not always possible to get a helicopter in the air due to resource, location or weather restrictions.

Drones may be used to assess the situation and to direct rescue efforts on foot.

5. Scene Inspections

Car accidents, natural disasters, insurance claims and risk assessments are just a few examples of sources of worry to individuals, companies and corporations. Private investigators are often hired to do a wide range of scene inspections however, not until recently did they have much more than a camera, a not pad and some measuring tape.

With a Drone in the air, the inspector now can easily demonstrate the wider area from an angle never before possible.

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Frequently Asked Questions

A. In Australia the laws are defined by The Civil Aviation and Safety Authority (CASA). They provide a list of Standard Operating Conditions all Pilots of any aircraft must abide by including all exceptions.

These conditions can be found on their website; https://www.casa.gov.au/

A. If used legally and correctly with the Standard Operating Conditions, the Privacy Act of 1988 and no laws have been broken the operation will be perfectly legal.

A. Google Earth is a great tool for private investigator however it’s not as up to date as a drone photograph just taken. According to a Google Earth Blog, the average map data is between 1 and 3 years old.

A. Yes and no. At close range they can make enough noise to get attention. However, the higher they go and the further away they go they begin to be no noisier than someone mowing their lawn down the street, to a bee buzzing, to nothing. Most popular drones on the market are surprisingly quite.

A. This obviously depends on the drone itself however as an example the DJI Mavic 2 for $2499 AUD has a 20-megapixel camera and the DJI Spark for $629 AUD has a 12-megapixel Camera which is the same as the latest iPhone.

A. Again, it’s a matter of how much do you want to spend but on average most of the drones people use are anywhere between 10 and 30 minutes.

A. Although some drones are capable of several kilometres or more, the drone must stay within unassisted line of sight of the pilot unless the pilot holds a Remote Operators Certificate or an ReOc and has permission from CASA.


Contact Us for Drone Surveillance Solutions

We cover all of Queensland and New South Wales with National options available too.

Call now for a free Drone Surveillance consultation on 1300 553 788 or email gm@qldcovertpi.com.au