No Drones Zones: Map and GIS Data

Caitlin Dempsey


Unmanned aircraft, known more commonly as drones, have a blanket ban by the Federal Aviation Authority in the United States over military bases and within a five mile radius of medium to large sized airports.  On July 27, 2014 a ban on the launching, landing, or operating of drones over national parks and waters was signed by the National Parks Director, Jonathan Jarvis.  This latest ban adds an additional  84 million acres across the United States and includes monuments, battlefields, historic sites, seashores, rivers, as well as national parks and recreational areas.

Now, a map of the no-fly areas for drones is available.  Created by Bobby Sudekum, a data analyst and engineer at Mapbox, the interactive map shows all the areas that fall under the three no-fly categories in the United States.

A grayscale map with an overlay with a red pattern to show no-fly areas, users can pan and zoom on the map.  There is no identify button to get more information about what each area is although airports are easy to discern because they are all circular due to the 5-mile buffer.  Visually, California has the most amount of geographic area that is restricted.  The maximum map extent is focused on the contiguous United States although users can pan up to see buffered airport locations in Canada and Alaska.  I tried to pan over to Hawaii but the map snaps back over to the mainland.

Users can also access the shapefiles and geoJSON files which MapBox has made available as open data under CC-0 on Github.  There’s also a place for users to submit feedback about drone no-fly areas.

You can view the map below or explore the map on the MapBox.  


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About the author
Caitlin Dempsey
Caitlin Dempsey is the editor of Geography Realm and holds a master's degree in Geography from UCLA as well as a Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS) from SJSU.

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