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DJI Mini 2 SE – Unlock GEO Zones (Step-by-Step Guide)

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The sky is a vast, open space, but that doesn’t mean you can fly freely as a drone pilot. Geofences or geo zones intersect airspace, controlling access. DJI drones in particular use GEO Zones.

While some drones will display a warning if you’re flying in restricted airspace, DJI drones warn you and stop you. It can be quite scary if you’re not expecting it!

I would never advocate for illegal drone flying, nor would anyone at Droneblog, but I’ll be the first to admit DJI’s GEO Zones can be overzealous at times. So, what do you do if you want to unlock them, specifically for your new drone, the Mini 2 SE?

I’ll tell you! 

What is a GEO Zone? #

Before I get into that, let’s chat about GEO Zones. DJI uses that spelling in particular, so I will too (and it’s because it’s an acronym for Geospatial Environment Online), but you will also see them called geo-zones or geo zones.

A GEO Zone is regulated airspace. Sometimes, drones are prohibited outright, like if you’re flying near an airport or military zone. In other cases, drones can enter, but only with permission.

Let me make one thing clear: you can’t see a GEO Zone. These are invisible boundaries, but they’re not hard to discern. If you look at any map on a good drone app, like DJI GO or DJI Fly App, or even a third-party app like Litchi, you’re going to see restricted airspace.

****» MORE: ****Geofencing on Drones (All You Need to Know)

Some drones let you enter at your own risk, but not DJI. If you attempt to enter restricted airspace with a DJI drone like the Mini 2 SE or otherwise, your drone will not fly into the GEO Zone.

It’s not like it crashes. Instead, it will slow down and hover. You can’t do much else until you heed the countless warnings your DJI app throws at you and stop flying in restricted airspace.

Different types of GEO Zones #

Making sense of DJI GEO Zones can admittedly be confusing. Looking at a map of your neighborhood can be a cacophony of colors. What in the world do they mean?

Think of this as a legend to DJI’s GEO Zones.

**» MORE: **Do Holy Stone Drones Have Geofencing (And How to Unlock)?

Special Altitude Zones #

A Special Altitude Zone is denoted in dark green. It stands for a designated scenic area’s restricted airspace. In other words, don’t plan to fly here, because legally, you can’t!

Approved Zones #

Approved Zones are bright green and apply to lightweight drones operating at altitudes of around 120 meters or under.

If you see an Approved Zone on your drone map and you have a light drone, you don’t need any permission to enter the airspace.

And what if you’re flying a mid-sized or larger drone? You need UTMISS permission when exceeding 120 meters in an Approved Zone. If you fly below that threshold, you can bypass the permission.

» MORE: How to Unlock Geofencing on Your DJI Drone (Step-By-Step Guide)

Regulatory Restricted Zones #

A Regulatory Restricted Zone is represented by light blue. Special areas will light up in this hue.

Since specific policies and regulations are in place limiting or banning drone flight, you can’t operate your drone here.

Enhanced Warning Zones #

An Enhanced Warning Zone shows up on your DJI flight map in orange. You will see a GEO prompt on your Mini 2 SE when flying in an Enhanced Warning Zone.

You can unlock a GEO Zone without an internet connection or verified account.

Warning Zones #

If you see yellow on the map, that’s a Warning Zone. As the name tells you, your Mini 2 SE will produce a warning indicating that you might be entering restricted airspace.

Warning Zones don’t always show up on a map, so if you get a DJI warning, please heed it. It’s not a glitch.

Authorization Zones #

An Authorization Zone is represented by slightly darker blue than Regulatory Restricted Zones.

You can’t fly in these zones unless and until you receive authorized access through your DJI account and unlock the GEO Zones.

Altitude Zones #

Appearing in gray, Altitude Zones comprise legal airspace, but often with limitations on altitude. You may sometimes receive a warning from DJI when flying in Altitude Zones, so be ready!

Restricted Zones #

I saved the most important type of GEO Zone for last, Restricted Zones. These spots show up as red on your drone map, so it’s nearly impossible to miss ‘em.

You won’t be able to fly your Mini 2 SE in a Restricted Zone (or any other DJI aircraft).

You can try to unlock the GEO Zone when entering a Restricted Zone, but unless you have the proper permission and email DJI, you can’t fly here.

****» MORE: ****DJI Avata Geofencing (And How to Unlock)

Does my DJI Mini 2 SE have GEO Zones? #

You bet it does! GEO Zones in the Mini 2 SE is part of DJI’s Fly Safe program, which includes a website and GEO System to prevent pilots from flying where they shouldn’t.

****» MORE: ****Do DJI Drones Have Geofencing? (And How to Unlock Them)

How to unlock GEO Zones in DJI Mini 2 SE #

If you find yourself in a situation where you need to unlock GEO Zones to fly the Mini 2 SE, you have two options for doing so. You can do a live unlock or a custom unlock.

Both options allow you legal access to an Authorization Zone and sometimes Restricted Zones, so let’s go over the processes.

Live unlocking #

When you perform a live unlock, it’s because you’re on the field and come across a DJI GEO Zone that’s hampering your progress. You must have an internet connection to successfully do a live unlock.

Here are the steps.

  • Step 1: Turn the Mini 2 SE on if it isn’t already.
  • Step 2: Power on your smartphone (which you use as a screen when flying the Mini 2 SE since its remote controller doesn’t have one built in) and the remote.
  • Step 3: Access the internet and open the DJI Fly app. You will see a notification with two checkboxes. The first reads, I am authorized (if required) to fly in this area. The second says, I accept full responsibility for my flight. Check both boxes, then press OK.
  • Step 4: Next, you’ll be on the Identity Authentication screen. Here, you must enter your phone number, then agree to the DJI GEO Zone Unlocking Conditions. You can click the hyperlink next to the checkbox to read more about those conditions before you check the box.
  • Step 5: Check your smartphone. DJI will text you a six-digit code. Input the code after agreeing to the terms and conditions.
  • Step 6: You will see a pop-up that says Unlocking successful! You can tap OK to remove the prompt.

Once you live unlock your Mini 2 SE, it will stay in that state for the next 24 hours. If you wish to fly in a zone that requires special access again, you’ll need to go through the entire process a second time.

**» MORE: **How to Fly a Drone in a No-Fly Zone (Explained)

Custom unlocking #

Let’s switch gears and look at custom unlocking.

Unlike live unlocking, which is a spur-of-the-moment choice, you have to plan to custom unlock the Mini 2 SE, such as when you have an Altitude Zone or Restricted Zone on your flight map.

You also need a custom unlock if operating in an Authorization Zone while not connected to the internet. Without an internet connection, live unlocks are impossible.

Let’s get that custom unlock underway.

  • Step 1: If you don’t already have a DJI account, create one. Visit this link, then type in your email address and a unique password. Type the password in a second time, check that you’re not a robot, and agree to DJI’s privacy policy. Click the Submit button when you’re done.
  • Step 2: Log into DJI Fly Safe, which you can access here. You can use your standard DJI account for the login. DJI recommends only accessing Fly Safe on a computer. I’ve tried on mobile, and it’s been okay, but it’s not optimized, so the user experience is better on a desktop or laptop.
  • Step 3: Choose the Authentication Application by clicking the button on the Unlock Request page.
  • Step 4: Clicking that link transports you to the User Center under Background Certification. Choose between a Government Account, Organization Account, or Personal Account.
  • Step 5: Next, fill out a contact form. For example, if you chose Organization Account above, you’ll have to input your organization name and industry. You’ll also have to share a first and last name, email address, and phone number.

Underneath your personal information is an area where you can upload an application file. DJI requires the application to include an official seal or signature and be typed on official letterhead. It must be in PDF, JPG, or PNG formats. Click Submit.

  • Step 6: Verify your phone number, then click Get SMS Code. DJI will text you a verification code. To the left of the Get SMS Code button is a verification code box. Input your code, then click the Confirm button.
  • Step 7: Next, choose the Device Management tab underneath Background Certification. Click New Device, a blue button with a plus sign on it, to add the drone you want authorized.
  • You have to type its Flight Controller SN, Aircraft Model, and Device Name. You should be connected to the DJI Fly app, then look for the Flight Controller Serial Number.
  • Step 8: Click the Download Template link to save your devices as an Excel spreadsheet. Upload the file by clicking Upload Excel File beside Download Template.
  • Step 9: Under the Device Management tab, click Pilot Management, then New Pilot. You can then type in your DJI Account name and Pilot Name, clicking Confirm.
  • Step 10: Save this information as an Excel document and upload it to DJI following the above steps.
  • Step 11: Go back to Fly Safe and select Unlock Request, then New Unlock Request. You can choose between two options, Zone Unlocking or Custom Unlocking. Select the latter.
  • Step 12: Your information should all be ready to go since you did the above work, but fill in any blanks.
  • Step 13: Now it’s time to select your flight map. Find a polygon on the map, tapping it to include its three-or-five-point vertices. Edit the polygon as needed or leave it as is and it will show up on the bottom of the DJI map. Alternatively, you can create a circle around the area where you need to unlock GEO Zones.
  • Step 14: Input the Zone Name, latitude, longitude, and radius. Save the information as an Excel sheet, then upload the map information. Click Submit.

DJI will review your custom unlock request in an hour or more.

****» MORE: ****Best Drones Without Geofencing

Why does geofencing matter? #

Listen, I know unlocking your drone is a lot, but you have to think about it from the perspective of drone manufacturers like DJI.

The safer the skies are, the better for everyone. Maybe DJI oversteps a little by stopping your drone if you enter a GEO Zone (an opinion I’m sure some of you reading this agree with!), but it’s better to have geofencing than to forego it.

It prevents beginner drone pilots from making egregious mistakes and entering airspace they have no business being in. Most restricted airspace is dangerous.

For example, if you enter military airspace, your drone is very likely to be shot down. No, I’m not talking from personal experience here, but imagine if that happened to you. It would be heartbreaking.

You could even harm others if your drone flies where it shouldn’t be.

If your drone collides with a manned aircraft like a plane, you could possibly damage the fuselage or other components, putting the pilot, their crew, and all the passengers in potential danger.

Oh, and of course, your drone would be toast, but that’s the least of your worries.

We need GEO Zones. They’re small hurdles to get over if you need permission, which you now know is easy enough to get, permitted you have a good reason!

**» MORE: **What is EASA, and How do They Implement Drone Laws?


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