On the back of ever-improving camera gear, drones have ushered in an entirely new, entirely awesome photographic format, and 2015 may have been the year it really came into its own. Social network Dronestagram has built an engaged photo-sharing community based on this very premise, and it has just handpicked its 12 favorite uploads from the past 12 months. Let's take a look at the year's aerial imagery that rose to the top.

Several of the images featured in this end-of-year roundup were actually finalists in Dronestagram's annual aerial photography contest, so you may have laid eyes on them before. Judged by Dronestagram and two National Geographic photographers, the featured image above took out first prize in the Places category, capturing the tips of buildings poking through the clouds above the Brazilian town of Maringá. It was taken by local Ricardo Matiello using a custom-built drone carrying a GoPro Hero 3 Black.

Another standout from the collection is this photo of the Al Marmoum Camel Race, a famous annual event in Dubai. It was captured by user "Shoyab" using a DJI F550 hexacopter carrying an unnamed Canon camera.

It is one of the most photographed landmarks in South America but rarely do you see it from such an interesting angle. This snap of the Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil was taken by Alexandre Salem with his DJI Phantom toting a GoPro Hero4.

This image of a tropical island in French Polynesia was another finalist in the competition earlier this year. It was snapped with a GoPro Hero 3 Black aboard a DJI Phantom and took out third prize in the Nature category.

Be sure to click through to our gallery, where you can look over the entire selection. Though Dronestagram is very much an online hub for budding drone photographers, this collection is far from exhaustive. Have you seen other stunning examples of drone photography floating around, or perhaps even snapped some yourself? Let us know in the comments.

Source: Dronestagram