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Boulder may in the near future make use of drones to advance various municipal interests, ranging from search-and-rescue efforts to 3-D modeling to inform infrastructure design.

Tim Haynie, owner of Spectrabotics, launches a drone to fly over and photograph ash trees damaged by the emerald ash borer in Boulder in July.
Paul Aiken, The Daily Camera
Tim Haynie, owner of Spectrabotics, launches a drone to fly over and photograph ash trees damaged by the emerald ash borer in Boulder in July.

But officials are first collecting public input before moving ahead with the program.

A survey is posted on the city’s website now, soliciting feedback on 22 different potential ways for Boulder to use unmanned aircraft systems.

There is some, though not too much, precedent for local governments using drones. In Austin, Texas, fire crews use them to sniff out hot spots. In Dallas, they’re used to inspect water utilities. In Mesa County in Colorado, they’re tools for public safety.

But rollouts of these programs haven’t always been smooth, said Julia Richman, the city’s first “chief innovation and analytics officer,” who cited examples in Seattle and Los Angeles, where municipal drone programs have struggled due to varying levels of mistrust from the public.

Specifically, many citizens worry about governments potentially using drones to spy on citizens.

Read the full story at DailyCamera.com.

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