Aerial photography and cinematography are on the rise. As the equipment for stunning aerial shots gets cheaper and cheaper, more people are taking to the skies to tell their stories. In one sense, this is a good thing. Drone photography can produce some beautiful results, and inexpensive equipment means that those results are now within reach for those of us with modest budgets. However, aerial photography, like anything else, requires a working knowledge of these sky machines, as well as loads of practice. Then there's the issue of restricted airspace, places where unmanned aircraft just are not allowed by law for any number of reasons. A helpful new interactive map called Don't Fly Drones Here just launched, and it's a fantastic resource for people unsure of whether they can fly in a particular area.
The main gist of the map is simple. Stay away from major airports (at least five miles away), active military bases, and US National Parks. Here's a quote from the Don't Fly Drones Here blog, which sums up their mission perfectly.
Unmanned drones like quadcopters and fixed-wing aircraft are at the center of new airspace regulations by the FAA. While the FAA deliberates on rules and regulations, states, cities and other national organizations have implemented their own no-fly zones. To help people find safe places to fly, we’ve mapped established no-fly areas where drones are not permitted around all major airports, military bases, and national parks across the country. All the no-fly area data we collected to make these maps is now open data under CC-0.
Below is an embedded version of the map, but I recommend going to their page to check it out in its full size.
For now, this map is a fairly accurate representation of the places where you can and cannot practice drone photography. It is not perfect, however, and you should always check with the proper authorities before any drone flight just to be sure. If you want to add to the map, you can submit new locations via their GitHub page.
Unfortunately, we're very likely to see new FAA regulations in the very near future that limit our access to the skies even more. Until then, however, this map should serve as a good starting place when planning your next drone flight.