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Drone Journalism is coming (scientificamerican.com)
24 points by zhiQ 1693 days ago | hide | past | web | 8 comments | favorite

I have worked in or around news organizations for about a decade. A few years ago, during a major flood event, we tried out drones, specifically a pair of Parrot ARs.

These were great for use in a large stadium, where could get a bird's eye view of the sandbagging operation (though, we could also get the perspective on the catwalks), but for footage of the flooding river? The wind was a factor. Rarely could we keep them off the ground without risking losing them, so we ended up renting planes for most of our aerial footage anyway.

The real issue we've found is their use is extremely limited. Most of the time, news doesn't lend itself to a bird's perspective. When it does, such as during a marathon, a borrowed/rented cherry picker gives you a similar angle without the risk of dropping a $1000 piece of equipment on someone's head.

While the Parrot AR.Drone has an attractive price point and control app, it's very limited in terms of power and camera maneuverability. Limitations in individual unmanned systems will inherently limit functionality in news coverage. More advanced technology will widen the number of viable applications.

Unmanned aerial systems have plenty of applications from sports coverage, post-disaster assessment, spot news, environmental reporting. I think the real power of these systems will be become apparent when they can provide geospatial data. That data can help resolve questions that hearsay can't.

- Matthew Schroyer, DroneJournalism.org

The DJI Phantom drone mentioned in the article has a GPS chip that allows the drone to stay in a stable/fixed position in windy conditions.

I bought a Phantom myself and in combination with a GoPro camera it's a perfect way to shoot aerial footage (photo or HD video). A quick picture I shot last week: http://imgur.com/aMnRzuA

Drones will take off when they are 2-way and swoop in - not just show bird's eye views.

I thought this would be an article about auto generated journalistic texts.

"Journalists can use drones to report on disasters such as hurricanes"

Good luck flying a drone in hurricane-strength winds.

i imagine the intention is post hurricane, e.g. to survey the damage.

The paparazzi is going to have a field day with these!

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