You bought a DJI Mini 3 or Mini 3 Pro and are ready to fly it. Once you pair the drone, the DJI RC or mobile device shows a message restricting you from flying because you’re in a Geo Zone.
Can you unlock the Geo Zone on DJI Mini 3 or Mini 3 Pro?
To unlock DJI’s Geo Zone, identify the zone you want to fly your drone. If it’s an Authorization Zone, go to the DJI Fly app to Self-Unlock it. If it’s a Restricted or Altitude Zone, go to the DJI Fly Safe website and fill out an Unlock Request.
This guide will explain what Geo Zones are and how to unlock one quickly.
To help, we’ve identified and reviewed the best drone courses for beginners and professionals.
What is a Geo Zone?
The safety precautions that civil aviation authorities take allow aviation to be a transportation sector with few accidents.
From a drone operation perspective, Geo Zones are barriers that prevent accidents.
Think of them as a division of locations where you can fly your drone with or without authorization. Each area holds a risk level. Depending on the risk level, you need to unlock the area or send an authorization request to DJI.
How to unlock a Geo Zone
So what should you do to unlock a Geo Zone?
There are two ways you can unlock them. A Self-Unlock is only suitable for Authorization Zones, and an Unlock Request is available for all zones.
Step 1: Power on your drone and pair it with the DJI RC or mobile device.
Step 2: Next, ensure the DJI RC or mobile device has an Internet connection.
Step 3: Start the propellers. If you’re in an Authorization Zone, you will notice they won’t start, and the Self-Unlocking prompt pops up.
Step 4: Follow the on-screen procedures by checking all boxes and tapping the OK button. It will ask for your cellphone number to proceed.
Step 5: Once you type it, DJI sends you a six-digit code via text or voice message. Type the six-digit code on the Fly app boxes. Finally, press the OK button.
You now have the authorization to fly in this zone for 24 hours only. After this time, you can repeat the process to reaccess the Authorization Zone.
This step will require you to follow three steps before performing an Unlocking Request.
Step 1: Background certification
Go to the Fly Safe site and log in with your DJI account email and password.
You will access the Fly Safe page, where you must click the Authentication Application. The required information will depend on if the user is a personal account, is part of a company, or is with a government organization.
Fill in the information and click submit at the bottom of the page.
It will ask for the phone number you previously entered. Once you type it, DJI sends you a text message with a code you must submit.
Step 2: Device Management
Next, you need to enter your Mini 3/Mini 3 Pro information.
Click on Device Management and press the New Device button. It will ask you for the drone serial number S/N, the model, and the name.
Search your drone S/N on the battery compartment and enter it in the required field. Type the S/N you found on the drone battery compartment, not the one in the battery.
Find the Mini 3/Mini 3 Pro from the Aircraft Model deploy list. Click it.
Go to the camera view with your drone and the mobile device or DJI RC. Tap the three horizontal dots and press the Info button. Type the device name in the required field.
Now you have completed the Device Management section.
Step 3: Pilot Management
Click Pilot Management to add your information. Type your DJI email and full name.
Now you can fill out an Unlocking Request. You have two options, Zone Unlocking, and Custom Unlocking.
Click the Unlock Request button link on the left top corner of the screen. Now press the New Unlock blue button to fill in the required info.
Unlocking Request: Zone Unlocking
The first option you see is Zone Unlocking. This option is helpful when you need permission to fly in a Restricted, Altitude, or Authorization Zone.
Once you click this option, you’ll see the map with the zones. Click the locations you want to unlock. Below the map, you’ll notice Time Range data you must fill in. This is the time you expect to use that zone.
Finally, write the reasons for your flying in that zone. Are you flying the drone indoors or at a certain altitude? Write a detailed application. It will increase the chances for you to get permission.
Also, attach any license, flight permission, flight mission, or any documentation that serves as justification.
Click submit and wait for DJI to contact you. They generally take 12 hours to respond.
Please remember all documentation and writing must be in English or Chinese.
Unlocking Request: Custom Unlocking
If you need to fly in only some Geo Zones, Custom Unlocking is the way.
When you click Custom Unlocking, a map appears for you to enclose the areas you want to fly in with a polygon or a circle.
For a polygon, you need to tap five points surrounding the area.
For a circle, you need to tap where its center is. Tap again for the radius, and a ring appears circling the area.
You can also import the GPS coordinates if you have prepared them before the Custom Unlock. You’ll fill the map with the coordinates of a polygon or circle.
Once you enclose the zone, fill in the Time Range data with the justification on why you want to fly in that zone. Proceed with the Zone Unlocking steps.
Now that you know how to unlock each Geo Zone, let’s see how you should unlock them.
Unlocking a Warning/Enhanced Warning Zone
DJI doesn’t prohibit you from flying here, but you must first confirm the warning prompts on the DJI Fly app. You don’t need an Internet connection or a DJI-verified account.
Unlocking an Authorization Zone
If flying in this zone, a Fly app prompt will require you to follow some steps. Here you will need to proceed with a Self-Unlocking.
It’s better to send an Unlock Request if you know you will fly in an Authorization Zone in advance.
Unlocking an Altitude Zone
You can fly in these areas without permission, maintaining the top ceiling as the zone specifies. However, they are generally within an Authorization Zone. Then you need to apply the steps below.
To fly over an Altitude Zone, you must send an Unlocking Request.
Unlocking a Restricted Zone
These are the trickiest zones to get permission when you don’t have a corporation or government facility that supports you.
You must proceed with an Unlocking Request. To be more precise, use Custom Unlocking only, including the exact flight coordinates in your request. It will help you have strong arguments to get this permission, as it leaves ambiguities aside.
All courses offered by Pilot Institute are taught by remote pilots, flight instructors, FAA commercial pilots, and other certified professionals.
What are the different types of Geo Zones?
With GNSS such as GPS, DJI disables the Mini 3/Mini 3 Pro operation in areas with high people and aircraft traffic, government facilities, and sensitive locations like prisons.
Where can I see the restricted areas?
DJI showcases those areas in distinctive colors on a map to understand where you can fly without prior authorization.
You can access those areas in the Fly app or the DJI Fly Safe Geo Zone Map.
The web DJI Fly Safe Geo Zone Map gives you an idea of the zones. However, it’s not as exact as the DJI Fly app.
Some Geo Zones don’t show on the web version, so always try to design your flight plan with the Fly app.
As you can see in the previous image, the zones are dense in the Fly app, as it shows all of them.
How to see the zones in the Fly app?
Open the Fly app on your mobile device or DJI RC. On the top left corner, tap Restricted Zone.
By default, it shows you the map of your current location. You can zoom in or out to have a clearer view.
If you want to search for a specific location, press the black box in the left-top corner. Or you can go to the magnifying glass icon and type the desired location.
Now on the location, you can tap on those zones and find their restrictions.
How to see the zones on the DJI Fly Safe Geo Zone website?
Go to this link.
Pick the country, the state or region, and the Mini 3/Mini 3 Pro drone from the Select Area section.
It will show you the map of the selected location.
You can navigate and check the zones. By default, it doesn’t have the warning and enhanced warning zones.
Please scroll down to the DJI Geo Zones section to show them and check their boxes. Now you can see them on the map and click to find restrictions.
These maps seem overwhelming, so it’s easier if you understand the coloring Geo Zone pattern before attempting a flight plan.
Warning and Enhanced Warning zones
The map shows the Warning and Enhanced Warning zones in yellow and orange, respectively. They are only there to advise you about possible danger and nothing else.
These zones are enclosed in blue. These are locations that are near Altitude and Restricted zones. DJI will require verification to assure you only be flying in the blue zone.
Any pilot can fly in these zones, only needing internet access and a DJI-verified account.
You can fly up to a maximum permissible altitude on the grey areas.
In these areas, airplanes, helicopters, or other massive aircraft maneuvers to land or take off safely from a runway.
Therefore, you can fly in these zones but not exceed the max altitude without previous authorization.
On the red enclosure areas, you can’t fly without previous authorization.
These areas are crucial to aviation safety, and any incursion can cause a catastrophe.
Why are Geo Zones significant?
DJI is more restrictive than local aviation regulations like the Federal Aviation Regulations. The idea is to have efficient barriers that prevent catastrophic outcomes.
Let’s say you want to fly near an airport, but the DJI Fly app says the area is restricted.
If DJI didn’t have this restriction, you could pilot your drone in that airport. An aircraft engine could swallow your drone, damaging its inner components, which results in aircraft loss of control.
If you have seen any aviation accidents on TV, you’ll have noticed that an aircraft failure can cause many people to lose their lives.
Geo Zones are how DJI helps us drone pilots avoid causing accidents.