We have plentiful evidence that drones are a useful - and increasingly widely used - technology for collecting spatial and operational data in support of humanitarian operations. The IFRC should seek to support National Societies as they integrate drones into their day-to-day operations.

Twenty-six National Societies are using or plan to use drones, in a variety of ways. These use-cases include monitoring IDP camp construction; community mapping for resiliency projects; conducting search and rescue operations; post-disaster mapping after landslides and earthquakes; and capturing photographs and video for communications purposes. More use cases are likely to be added in the near future, as Societies grow more comfortable with drones and find new applications for the technology.

We found that these 26 National Societies are largely not collaborating with one another on drone projects, or currently speaking with one another about the use of drone technology. A number of interviewees expressed interest in connecting and collaborating with other drone users at other National Societies in the future.

Currently, the IFRC has no centralized source of contextualized information on drone technology. The IFRC does not currently promote or organize experience-sharing opportunities around drone technology.

Our research demonstrates that there is considerable demand amongst National Societies for methods of collaboration and communication with one another on drone technology and its uses. As a first priority, the IFRC needs to find ways to connect drone users with one another across the movement, so that they can share information and learn from one another. This initial act of international connection will facilitate the later development of movement-wide drone knowledge, standards, training mechanisms, and research.

The IFRC should find ways to collect, organize, and disseminate the knowledge that these drone users possess across the entire Movement. This may take the form of formal research, reports, convenings, manuals, social networking websites or groups, and other resources that can be made widely available to everyone.

The IFRC should also encourage and facilitate the development of Movement-wide technical and ethical standards for drone use. This will provide National Societies with a clear framework for setting up their own drone programs and operations. These standards will provide new and existing National Society drone programs with information that they need to assess the competency of their own pilots and the competency of vendors, ensuring that the IFRC does not inadvertently associate itself with dangerous or unethical activities.