Drone Investigation Data Considerations

Type of drone data:

  • Audio Visual Content;
  • Flight Schedules;
  • Other Payload Created Content;
  • Automated Usage Logs.

Location of drone data:

  • On-board Data Storage;
  • Removable Storage Devices;
  • Mobile Devices and Applications;
  • Remote Controllers;
  • Ground Stations;
  • Cloud-Based Data Platforms;
  • Network Packet Data


Due to the nature of drone data, and the fact that drones utilize additional supporting devices, the following should be considered:


Drone Investigation Data Considerations
  • The data can be scattered in several physical locations, sometimes across countries.
  • The data can be transferred across jurisdictional borders effortlessly and in split seconds.
  • The data is highly volatile – it is easily altered, overwritten, damaged or destroyed by a single stroke of a key.
  • The data can be copied without degradation.
  • The lifespan of electronic evidence, unlike any other discipline of forensic evidence, is short before it is rendered useless. After five years the device may not be able to be switched on or function properly.

Based on these facts, drone evidence must be processed and handled with due care.