When it comes to use of drones, county governmental officials and county residents alike need to follow drone regulations.

Three years ago, under two pilot projects, drone usage proved to be successful for ditch inspections conducted by Otter Tail County.

Later, use of drones became a welcome tool for Otter Tail County sheriff deputies. Two main uses are for search and rescue and drug enforcement. County officials, including county commissioners, say that drone technology saves money, time and resources.

To fly a drone as a hobbyist, a private citizen is required to register his or her drone with the Federal Aviation Administration and follow FAA special rules for model aircraft.

Otter Tail County governmental officials follow FAA drone rules and obtain a Certificate of Authorization.

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“Whether it’s drone usage by county government or drone usage by private citizens, safety should be the main consideration,” Otter Tail County Sheriff Barry Fitzgibbons said.

Across the state of Minnesota, drones have been a great benefit to first responders when it comes to natural disasters, detecting wildfires, assisting firefighters by surveying burning buildings and assisting during floods and risk assessments.

Drones for real estate

The National Association of Realtors reports that real estate professionals all across the nation are using drones for aerial photography for properties.

The association does, however, strictly detail the rules and regulations that must be followed.

Real estate agents are investing thousands of dollars into professional video production of drone-captured videos.

That said, a drone will never be able to shoot all of the photography and video needed to market a property. There still are certain kinds of photos and videos that a flying camera cannot do.