The Drone Site Selection Tool is an interactive map designed to help drone pilots determine areas where drone flight is prohibited, restricted or potentially hazardous. Drones are prohibited at areas that are highlighted in red. You will require permission from the appropriate authority to fly a drone in areas highlighted in orange. Areas filled with yellow require additional caution due to other air traffic.
If you fly a drone in Canada you must follow the rules that help keep people and aircraft safe. All drones over 250 grams must be registered with Transport Canada, and flown by a pilot with a drone pilot certificate.
Quick Start Guide:
Use the icons in the sidebar of the map to perform the following functions:
- Specify details about your operation/qualifications
- Centre the map on a geographic location
- Adjust the map controls
- FAQ and Help
- Save settings or reset to defaults
- Send feedback to the website developers
- Adjust map layers
1. Users should start by selecting the appropriate category of your drone operations (i.e. Basic or Advanced). Select the appropriate category by using the 'operation details' tab that opens when you click on the Gamepad icon ().
2. Next, either manually centre the map using standard zoom/pan controls, or use the Search icon () to search for a location, or centre the map by using your device's geolocation.
How to Interpret the Map:
The map uses colour to identify areas that require additional caution, or are prohibited from drone flights. Areas filled with red are prohibited. Areas filled with yellow require additional caution due to other air traffic. Areas filled with orange require permission from the Nav Canada, Parks Canada, National Defence, or an airport operator. Clicking on any shape will present an information window providing further details.
The cursor position box below indicates the latitude and longitude (in decimal degrees) of the cursor's position. This may prove useful in describing the geographical boundaries of the intended operation. Please note that the cursor must be over the map in order to update (i.e. not over the sidebar).
In Canada, there are 2 main categories of drone operation: basic and advanced. Each one has a different set of rules drone pilots must follow. The weight of your drone, distance from bystanders and airspace rules define your category. Find your drone category.
Select your category below:
You can toggle tools to assist in the design of an operation. The tools will only display on the map if you are zoomed in to a high enough level.
By selecting the 'show measure tool' checkbox you can drag measurement markers. The distance will be displayed at the top centre of the map. The markers can be dragged and may be used to validate your operation's distances from built up areas or structures, etc. Un-checking the checkbox will remove the markers from the map.
This area displays the coordinates of any operation that has been defined and displayed on the map.
By checking, or un-checking the checkboxes below you can toggle the various Google Maps controls visible on the map canvas.
The Zoom control adds +/- icons that can be used to modify the zoom level. The Street view control introduces an icon that can be dragged to a location on the map where you wish to see street level view (if available). The Map type control introduces a drop down menu where you can select whether the map is a roadmap (with toggleable terrain), or satellite imagery. The Fullscreen control introduces an icon that may be used to expand the map to occupy your full screen.
The cursor type dropdown menu allows you to vary the cursor type between a hand (drag to pan map), and a cursor with selectable pan options.
To report problems with the Drone site selection tool please send a direct email to the developers:
Please note that NRC staff are unable to provide guidance regarding the legality of your proposed operation. For more information on drone safety rules in Canada, visit Drone Safety
For questions and concerns about Drone regulations in Canada, please contact Transport Canada:
Users should start by selecting the appropriate category of your drone operations (i.e. Basic or Advanced). Select the appropriate category by using the 'operation details' tab that opens when you click on the Gamepad icon.
Next, either manually centre the map using standard zoom/pan controls, or use the Search icon to search for a location, or centre the map by using your device's geolocation.
The map uses colour to identify areas that require additional caution, or are prohibited from drone flights. Areas filled with red are prohibited. Areas filled with yellow require additional caution due to other air traffic. Areas filled with orange require permission from Nav Canada, Parks Canada, National Defence, or an airport operator. Clicking on any shape will present an information window providing further details.
The Globe Icon contains several controls that can be toggled on or off. The Zoom control adds +/- icons that can be used to modify the zoom level. The Street view control introduces an icon that can be dragged to a location on the map where you wish to see street level view (if available). The Map type control introduces a drop down menu where you can select whether the map is a roadmap (with toggleable terrain), or satellite imagery. The Fullscreen control introduces an icon that may be used to expand the map to occupy your full screen.
The gamepad icon contains two tools that can be toggled to assist in the design of your RPAS operation.
By selecting the 'show measure tool' checkbox you can right click on the map to insert a measurement marker. Note: Currently you can only set the initial marker position outside a filled shape. Once 2 markers have been created a line will be drawn between them and the distance (in meters) will be displayed at the top centre of the map. The markers can be dragged and may be used to validate your operation's distances from built up areas or structures, etc. Un-checking the checkbox will remove the markers from the map.
Selecting the 'operation design tools' checkbox will add a toolbar to the top of the map that allows you to draw the boundaries of your operation. The vertices can be repositioned by dragging, and a detailed coordinate list is displayed when clicking on the green filled shape. Future releases will include more features for the operation design tools. Note: The operation design toolbar will only be seen if the map is zoomed in beyond a certain level.
The gear icon allows users to save the current map settings as default (including map centre, zoom, and style), or to restore the NRC default settings. The settings are saved in your browser's local storage, and will be retained any time you visit the site from the same device. Deleting your browser cache will result in NRC defaults being applied.
AAE - Above Aerodrome Elevation
AGL - Above Ground Level
ATS - Air Traffic Services
CDAH - Canadian Designated Airspace Handbook
Class A-G - Airspace in Canada is divided into 7 classes. Drone pilots with a Basic Drone Pilot Certificate must stay in Class G; drone pilots with an Advanced Drone Pilot Certificate may enter other classes of airspace if they have permission from the authority managing the airspace (NAV CANADA, or DND as appropriate).
CYA - Advisory Class F Airspace
CYD - Danger Class F Airspace
CYR - Restricted Class F Airspace
CZ - Control Zone
FIR - Flight Information Region
RPAS - Remotely Piloted Aircraft System
SFC - Surface
Review the information at Transport Canada's web page
In addition to using the Drone site selection tool you should plan to fly where you can see it at all times (i.e. not behind obstacles), below 122 metres (400 feet) in the air, away from bystanders, at a minimum distance of 30 metres for basic operations, away from emergency operations and advertised events. Avoid forest fires, outdoor concerts, parades, etc.
Perform a site survey as per 901.27. Here you must establish that the take off/landing site is suitable for the operation considering the boundaries of the operation, the type of airspace, the altitudes and routes for approach/departure from the take off/landing area, the proximity to other aircraft, obstacles, weather, and the horizontal distances from people not associated with the operation. You may want to save a screen capture of your operation as part of the record keeping requirements of 901.48
When selecting a location for Take-Off/Landing, be mindful of 901.33 and ensure that there is no likelihood of collision with another aircraft, person or obstacle, and that the area is appropriate for the type of operation you are planning to conduct.
Check the weather limits for your drone as per 901.34, and ensure that you have adequate control margin to safely conduct the operation. Applications such as https://www.windy.com may assist in estimating the conditions.
Read the NOTAMs prior to commencing flight operations. The NOTAMS can be downloaded from Nav Canada. Enter the ID associated with the nearest aerodrome to your proposed operation, and select the Aerodrome NOTAM file as well as the FIR NOTAM file. Alternatively, you can find a visual presentation of the NOTAMs at http://www.zuluforpilots.com/Map
Establish a list of emergency contact information appropriate for the area, and consider the appropriate course of action/contact for events such as a fly-away, injury, etc.
Ensure that your drone is serviceable as per 901.29, and verify that your flight plan has been loaded correctly into the software. Prior to flying you should ensure that there is minimal risk of losing the wireless link to your drone; be aware of any high power RF transmitters in the area. A spectrum analyzer such as the RF Explorer can help identify potential congested channels, and sources of interference.
Fly safe, stick to your planned area, keep your drone within visual range, and stay clear of other aircraft at all times.
Flying your drone safely and legally - Transport Canada
Windy - Weather forecasting
NOTAMs - Nav Canada
Zulu For Pilots - Map based visual NOTAMs
Skyvector - Aeronautical Charts
FltPlan.com - Aerodrome Information
Canadian Airspace Viewer - Map displaying all Airspace as defined in the CDAH
Map of MAAC Clubs - Sites to fly without a drone license
Unmanned Systems Canada - National Association for Unmanned Systems
Here is a list of commonly asked questions.
Not necessarily. The Drone Site Selection Tool shows the known locations of airports/heliports and airspace on its map. The legality of a particular operation may be influenced by the laws of several jurisdictions, including municipal, provincial, property access rights, and privacy etc...
The operation of a remotely piloted aircraft system (RPAS) in accordance with this web-tool does not imply the operator is compliant with Transport Canada's regulatory requirements. The responsibility for ensuring compliance with the appropriate regulations lies with the RPAS pilot, Special Flight Operations Certificate holder, visual observers or other operators as applicable. Any questions regarding compliance with the regulations should be addressed to: TC.RPASInfo-InfoSATP.TC@tc.gc.ca
No. International flight is not permitted. A future release of the tool will crop all the shapes to ensure they remain within Canadian airspace.
The airport/heliport data comes from Nav Canada's database, and is updated on a 56 day cycle. The airspace data is parsed from the Designated Airspace Handbook. The national park data was extracted from the Canada Lands Survey web services
A limited amount of data has been added manually to extend and improve upon the tool. An example of this is the inclusion of the restrictions surrounding Quebec corrections facilities as identified in Nav Canada's AIP Supplement 20/19
The airspace data displayed comes from the Designated Airspace Handbook. Not all airspace as defined in the DAH have altitudes explicitly assigned to them, and instead may refer to an altitude above the aerodrome elevation (AAE). For example, most control zones extend to an altitude of 3000 feet above the aerodrome elevation. The Drone site selection tool shows these altitudes as Above Ground Level (AGL), whereas the Nav Canada charts show these altitudes as height above Mean Sea Level (MSL).
This can happen with airports that do not have accurate survey data available in the database. The Drone site selection tool uses surveyed runway end points to establish its shapes, where possible. In the absence of surveyed data, the tool uses a "best guess" by using the reported aerodrome centre coordinate, runway length, and the runway direction from the runway number (corrected for magnetic variation). This can introduce up to a 10 degree error in runway heading, as well as minor issues regarding the runway location. Please do not report these errors to the developers, as it is the underlying database that requires improvement. Instead, it is recommended to contact the aerodrome operator to suggest that improved survey points should be added to the Canada Flight Supplement.
Sorry, but no. The licensing terms for the Nav Canada data used to derive the map shapes prohibit re-distribution of the underlying data at this time.
Sorry, but not at this time. While a native OS application would allow for improved user interface it would introduce too many code branches for us to maintain (i.e. one for each OS, iOS, Android, and Desktop HTML5, and in French and English).
There are several possible reasons why geolocation might not work as expected. Not all browsers are capable of supporting geolocation. You also need to have location services enabled on your device, and browser security settings. Using geolocation from a laptop or desktop can produce innacurate results because of the IP address locating technique that's used.
The contrast of the map can be adjusted by using the map type dropdown menu in the top right of the map. If you do not see the map type menu you can activate it via a checkbox in the Map Controls menu in the sidebar (Globe icon).
The Drone Site Selection Tool loads the map data for all of Canada simultaneously, and renders it using the Google Maps API. On slow Internet connections this can take a several seconds.
The expandable text boxes are known to not work correctly on Internet Explorer (all versions), or Edge. They have been tested and are known to work on Chrome, Firefox, and Safari.
Micro-drones are drones weighing less than 250 g. The weight of the remote control is not factored in to the weight calculation, but the weight of anything attached or carried, such as optional cameras, lens filter, pegs, propeller guards, stickers or lights will be considered part of the weight. The micro RPA could thus reach 250 g or more and be made in the category of small RPA from 250 g to 25 Kg and have to comply with subpart 1 of part IX, requiring, among other things, an RPA registration and a RPA pilot certification.
As a good practice, you should always:
Follow these guidelines to avoid flying in a negligent or reckless manner and being subject to fines. Enjoy a safe flight and minimize the risk of incidents. Remember: if you feel that your flight is risky, don’t do it.
901.47(1) of the Canadian Aviation Regulations states:
"No pilot shall operate a remotely piloted aircraft at or near an aerodrome that is listed in the Canada Flight Supplement or the Water Aerodrome Supplement in a manner that could interfere with an aircraft operating in the established traffic pattern."
901.47(2) of the Canadian Aviation Regulations states:
"Subject to section 901.73, no pilot shall operate a remotely piloted aircraft at a distance of less than: (a) three nautical miles from the centre of an airport; and (b) one nautical mile from the centre of a heliport.”
There are different restrictions associated with aerodromes vs airports and heliports. For BASIC operations airports and heliports (which have a certificate in accordance with Part III of the Canadian Aviation Regulations) are drawn in red, whereas all other aerodromes are drawn in yellow.
Use the radio buttons below to toggle the visiblity of the airspace, aerodrome, and National parks map layers.
Use the controls below to toggle the visiblity of the airspace above 400 ft AGL. Note that the Airspace layer radio button will hide all airspace shapes.
Airspace above 400ft can be filtered by airspace class.
Airspace above 400ft can be filtered by airspace type.
Use the select boxes below to further refine airspace visibility by altitude.Show selected airspace:
Your proposed operation has the following critical alerts:
Your proposed operation has the following warnings:
Information about your operation:
Your operation bounds have changed! Click on the Check Ops Area button below to generate a new report.
Save the current map settings (zoom, centre, map type, etc) as defaults so they are restored when you return to this page:
Restore the original NRC map defaults: