INDIANA DRONES

See how Peru is using drones to save its history

Here’s another non-violent use of drones: Archaeological preservation.

Following the trend of using drones for animal and land conservation purposes, archaeologists in Peru are using drones to protect the country’s ancient ruins.

Between 2002 and 2012, Peru’s GDP grew at 6.4%, largely driven by exports. Amid this growth, archaeological efforts took a backseat to mining and manufacturing. And with a meager $5 million budget, it’s hard for Peru’s Culture Ministry to protect thousands of sites. The government told Reuters that out of 13,000 sites, only about 2,500 have been properly marked off, making it easy for the balance to be illegally occupied or destroyed for other uses.

Not only do they protect archaeological sites from squatters, builders and illegal miners, but drones also speed up the survey and mapping of sites; it can reduce a project from months and years to days and weeks.

With the cost of drones, or Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAVs), falling—thanks in part to the open source nature of drone software such as DIYdrones.com—archaeologists in Peru can make up for limited resources using drones.

Luis Jaime Castillo, a Peruvian archaeologist with Lima's Catholic University and an incoming deputy culture minister, flies a drone to take pictures of the archaeological site of San Jose de Moro in Trujillo July 18, 2013. In Peru, home to the spectacular Inca city of Machu Picchu and thousands of ancient ruins, archaeologists are turning to drones to speed up sluggish survey work and protect sites from squatters, builders and miners. Remote-controlled aircraft were developed for military purposes and are a controversial tool in U.S. anti-terrorism campaigns, but the technology's falling price means it is increasingly used for civilian and commercial projects around the world. To match Feature PERU-ARCHAEOLOGY/ Picture taken July 18, 2013.  REUTERS/Mariana Bazo (PERU - Tags: TRANSPORT EDUCATION SOCIETY SCIENCE TECHNOLOGY POLITICS) - RTX12VQG
Peruvian archaeologist Luis Jaime Castillo started using drones to explore sites two years ago. Reuters/Mariana Bazo.
Luis Jaime Castillo, a Peruvian archaeologist with Lima's Catholic University and an incoming deputy culture minister, prepares a drone that will take pictures of the archaeological site of Cerro Chepen in Trujillo August 3, 2013. In Peru, home to the spectacular Inca city of Machu Picchu and thousands of ancient ruins, archaeologists are turning to drones to speed up sluggish survey work and protect sites from squatters, builders and miners. Remote-controlled aircraft were developed for military purposes and are a controversial tool in U.S. anti-terrorism campaigns, but the technology's falling price means it is increasingly used for civilian and commercial projects around the world. To match Feature PERU-ARCHAEOLOGY/ Picture taken August 3, 2013.  REUTERS/Mariana Bazo (PERU - Tags: TRANSPORT EDUCATION SOCIETY SCIENCE TECHNOLOGY POLITICS) - RTX12VQH
For as little as $1,000, researchers can build hand-held drones to survey every inch of an archaeological site. Reuters/Mariana Bazo.
A drone flies over the archaeological site of Cerro Chepen as it takes pictures in Trujillo August 3, 2013. In Peru, home to the spectacular Inca city of Machu Picchu and thousands of ancient ruins, archaeologists are turning to drones to speed up sluggish survey work and protect sites from squatters, builders and miners. Remote-controlled aircraft were developed for military purposes and are a controversial tool in U.S. anti-terrorism campaigns, but the technology's falling price means it is increasingly used for civilian and commercial projects around the world. To match Feature PERU-ARCHAEOLOGY/ Picture taken August 3, 2013.  REUTERS/Mariana Bazo (PERU - Tags: TRANSPORT EDUCATION SOCIETY SCIENCE TECHNOLOGY POLITICS) - RTX12VQN
Drones can reduce explorations by months and even years to days and weeks. Reuters/Mariana Bazo.

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