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Aerial Photographers: Map Shows Where You Can and Cannot Fly Drones in the US

By Hanssie on July 26th 2014

While the FAA tries sort out the guidelines and laws surrounding where people can fly their unmanned aerial vehicles, aka drones, data analysts Bobby Sudekum and Amy Lee have developed a helpful interactive map using Mapbox showing places across the US where you cannot fly a drone.

While the commercial use of drones is completely banned, for the hobbyist, there are three places that are always prohibited and designated no fly zones- military bases, national parks and within a 5 mile radius of medium to large airports. Now, by using Don’t Fly Drones Here, you can quickly locate on the map the areas where you cannot take your quadcopter.


This list isn’t comprehensive, as it doesn’t include local bans, but the map is a good guideline to help you stay on this side of the law – just be sure to check if your city has its own regulations.  “There are still many uncertainties around where and how one can fly a remotely operated aircraft. This map is a just a start,” says the creator. The map is an open source project so people are invited to add their no fly regions on the site’s public Github repository.

[via PopPhoto]

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Hanssie is a Southern California-based writer and sometimes portrait and wedding photographer. In her free time, she homeschools, works out, rescues dogs and works in marketing for SLR Lounge. She also blogs about her adventures and about fitness when she’s not sick of writing so much. Check out her work and her blog at Follow her on Instagram

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Matthew Saville

    In fact for many years now, RC airplane owners have quietly and happily abided by laws and regulations about where they can fly their planes. There’s a handful of “airfields” in my area that I know about, and it’s always fun to see dads and their kids out having fun, LEGALLY and SAFELY.

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  2. Matthew Saville

    As much as I love the mentality of freedom we have here in this country, I think that as a matter of airspace safety, this whole thing needs to be strictly regulated. Don’t get me wrong, though, I think it should still be possible to fly drones almost anywhere you want, as long as you can get some sort of LICENSE to do it, just like pilots and drivers need licenses.


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  3. Aidyn Chen

    a really important map for some photographer. definitely helpful!

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  4. Brandon Dewey

    I spent years flying in helicopter and there are a lot of rules pilots have to follow to make sure flying is safe for everyone. Since dones at this point in time do not have raids to communicate to other aircraft its location or at receive locations for other aircraft and because of there small size they came become extremely dangerous to other aircraft. Before flying a drone people need to read and understand FAA rule to make sure they do not accidentally fly into a restricted airspace and understand the altitude that different aircraft fly at to help avoid a collision.

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  5. Herm Tjioe

    Of special interest to me is Paso Robles’s wine country. I had thought of making some flyovers for showcase. It does appear the region is for the most part off limits, except for outliers.

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    This will surely be of help to most guys

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