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If you fly a DJI drone then you may have run into issues with geofencing, and not knowing how to turn it off.

In this guide, we’ll walk you through how to identify whether where you want to fly is in airspace that requires unlocking, the two different types of geofencing DJI uses, and what to do to unlock each one of them.

Here’s our YouTube video, but if you’d prefer to read through this guide, please scroll below:

Is Your Mission Located in a Geofenced Area?

Start by using DJI’s Fly Safe Geo Map to see whether the area in which you want to fly is located in a geofenced “zone” that will require unlocking.

To do this, enter the address of the location where you want to fly in the search box in the top left of the interactive map that appears on the Geo Map page, and then click on the area to populate the geofencing zones in the location where you want to fly.

Quick note: Make sure to check off the “Warning Zones” and “Enhanced Warning Zones” boxes below the map to make sure all of the geofencing information relevant to your mission will be included in your search.

How to Unlock Geofencing on Your DJI Drone

Color Coding

Once you input the location where you want to fly, you’ll notice color-coding indicating the different kinds of geofencing zones that cover the area (these colors correspond with the “DJI GEO Zones” you see listed horizontally below the map in the screenshot above).

Red zones indicate restricted areas, which require a Custom Unlock. We’ll walk you through how to request a Custom Unlock in the next section.

Gray zones indicate areas with altitude restrictions and are usually found near airport runways. Due to safety reasons, these restrictions cannot be turned off.

Blue zones indicate areas where flying is risky but up to the discretion of the pilot, and may be flown after completing a Self Unlock. We’ll walk you through how to perform a Self Unlock in the next section.

Yellow zones indicate areas where flying is potentially dangerous but does not require any unlocking (these are those Warning Zones and Enhanced Warning Zones areas). When taking off in these areas, a warning will be shown to pilots along with a request for the pilot to take responsibility for flying in the area by checking a box.

Types of Unlocking You Can Do

As we’ve already noted, there are two types of unlocking you can perform on your DJI drone: a Self Unlock (associated with blue zones) and a Custom Unlock (associated with red zones).

Self Unlock zones can be unlocked fairly easily by clicking through a series of steps, while Custom Unlock zones require proof of authorization (via LAANC or other documentation, such as a COA).

Custom Unlock

A Custom Unlock requires proof of authorization for flying in the restricted area and can only be requested via DJI’s website. Make sure to secure your Custom Unlock before you go into the field—don’t arrive on-site and expect to get a Custom Unlock right away.

Before you start the process listed below, make sure to secure authorization to fly in the area where you are requesting a Custom Unlock, since you’ll need to present this authorization to DJI in order to have your unlock request granted.

[To learn more about how to get airspace authorization see this step-by-step resource we created.]

How to Perform a Custom Unlock

  • Go to DJI’s Custom Unlock webpage (https://www.dji.com/flysafe/custom-unlock) and log into your DJI account.
  • Click ‘Unlocking Requests.’
  • Fill out the ‘Basic Information’ form — This form requires information such as name, verified DJI account, flight controller serial number, operation details, authorization documentation, etc. (see below instructions to find your serial number).
  • After entering all information in the ‘Basic Information’ form, click ‘Next Step.’
  • Now, the ‘Unlocking Area’ page will open.
  • Select the model of drone for this operation from the drop-down menu.
  • Using the search bar within the Geo Map, enter the flight location address.
  • Select the red pin that covers the zone you want to unlock (remember, red = Custom Unlock zone).
  • On the right-hand side of the Geo Map, enter the proposed flight radius, flight altitude, and the name of the unlocking zone.
  • Review the information, if everything looks correct click ‘Confirm’ and enter the verification code when prompted and click ‘Confirm.’
  • Agree to the terms and conditions and click ‘Agree.’
  • Now you wait. DJI will review your Custom Unlock request and reply, usually within one hour of submission. If your request is approved you will receive an email confirmation letting you know. If you experience delays, you can contact DJI support at [email protected] to check on the status of your request.

Self Unlock

Self Unlock can be done either before you fly or while you’re at the location where you plan to fly. Here’s how to do each one.

How to Perform a Self Unlock Before You Fly

  • Go to DJI’s Self Unlock webpage (https://www.dji.com/flysafe/self-unlock) and log into your DJI account.
  • Select the model of drone for this operation from the drop-down menu.
  • Using the search bar within the Geo Map, enter the flight location address.
  • Select the blue pin that covers the zone you want to unlock (remember, blue = Self Unlock zone).
  • Enter your flight controller serial number (jump down to this section on how to find your serial number).
  • Choose the date for your flight and click Submit (note: the unlock will start at midnight on the day you choose and will stay in place for the next 72 hours).
  • Agree to the terms and conditions and click ‘Agree.’
  • Use either the phone number or credit card number associated with your DJI account to verify your identity (if you use your phone number you’ll have to enter an authentication number received via text, so make sure to have your phone nearby).
  • If the verification is successful, a popup will indicate ‘Verication Complete’ you can then click ‘Proceed.’
  • After securing your self unlock with the steps listed above, you’ll need to do the following: Go to Camera View, select General Settings, and select Unlocking List in the DJI GO or DJI GO 4 app to confirm your flight license has been downloaded. It’s important to do this before going into the field since you need an internet connection to take these steps and if you have a poor connection and can’t do them, you may not be able to fly. See this page on the DJI website for more information: topdeblogs.com/flysafe/self-unlock.

How to Perform a Self Unlock While on Location

  • Open the DJI Go app.*
  • When the flight restriction warning appears click “Yes.”**
  • Use either the phone number or credit card number associated with your DJI account to verify your identity (if you use your phone number you’ll have to enter an authentication number received via text, so make sure to have your phone nearby).
  • Click “Confirm” to unlock the Self Unlock zone where you want to fly.

*Depending on the area, in order to trigger the Self Unlock prompt while on location you must have internet access (which means you won’t be able to do Self Unlock using an iPad that does not have internet access).

**You may need to perform a CSC maneuver to trigger the Self Unlock prompt to appear. If the prompt is not appearing, try doing a CSC maneuver to trigger the prompt.

Here’s how to find your flight controller serial number

  • Connect to the DJI Go 4 app with the controller and your drone.
  • In the top right corner, click on the three dots for General Settings.
  • Scroll to the bottom, click on About, and your serial number will appear there.

Pro Tip: Although DJI documentation says that Self Unlock only works on a desktop browser, if you are in the field and only have an iPhone you can use Safari to do a Self Unlock by clicking the share button at the bottom of the screen, then selecting “request desktop site.” Doing this will allow you to do a Self Unlock on the DJI Self Unlock webpage while in the field.

Hat tip to Chris Council of C2 Photography for sharing the pro tip above as well as several other key points that helped improve this guide. Thanks Chris!

For more information on unlocking your DJI drone, watch this video from DJI:

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