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Coverage of ways unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are changing how state and local government collects data on physical infrastructure, maps jurisdictions via GIS and monitors public safety from the sky. Also includes stories about efforts by private-sector companies and education institutions to improve how drones can better help government deliver services.

In Mitchell, S.D., a handful of city departments, including the police, emergency management, parks and public works, are among those that intend to utilize the new unmanned aircraft system, if approved.
The previous ordinance, passed in recent years, had stated that unmanned aerial craft could not be flown over the city's police station or public parks, but the FAA said the city doesn’t have agency to decide that.
The NYPD plans to start piloting drones over certain crime scenes across the five boroughs, in some cases pairing the technology with the department's ongoing ShotSpotter technology.
So far this year state and federal officials have had to ground their aircraft at least seven times due to unauthorized drone flights near active wildfires, according to state officials.
The drone, estimated to cost around $30,000, was bought with a Federal Homeland Security grant. The Kalispell Fire Department was one of six hazardous material response agencies to receive the aircraft and specialized training.
A report by the American Civil Liberties Union released last month about the use of drones by police agencies contains cautionary tales about what's to come, very quickly, if citizens don't speak out.
The Special Operations Unit will consist of three-person teams working across three eight-hour shifts that will be staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week, according to department officials.
The rise of artificial intelligence and deepfake technology is prompting a legislative response in the Bluegrass State. Lawmakers there have introduced a bill aimed at stiffening penalties for misuse of the technologies.
Eager for a chance to prove their value, many public safety agencies are starting with donations and grants to implement new drone programs. The gifts are proving useful to inspire additional funding for devices.
For state and local government agencies across the U.S., GIS technology has the power to inform decision-making, impact funding and improve the constituent experience through various applications.