The development of drones has drastically increased over just the last couple of years due to the vibrant maker community and the use of drones in a variety of new applications. The Teal Group, an aerospace market research firm, recently estimated that within a decade the total amount spent worldwide on research, development, testing and evaluation of drone technology will reach $91 billion.
From environmental research to wildlife conservation and search and rescue, drones are becoming recognized for a wide variety of uses beyond commercial and defense applications. Furthermore, the opportunities drones provide for data analysis, storage and display open up a world of possibilities for application in business. Hundreds of thousands of developers and makers around the world today are contributing to drone technology and this future.
DIY Drones is helping to educate the public about civilian and peaceful uses of drones. To help get the word out, they've started a repository of drone uses here that anyone can add to. Here also is a list of drone uses from Atmel.