A drone flies in the nature

Digitale Plattform
Unbemannte Luftfahrt

Notes

The scope of the Map Tool and of geographical zones with or without flight restrictions, called geozones below, is limited to the territory of the Federal Republic of Germany and regulated in accordance with the applicable version of the German Rules of the Air Regulations (LuftVO).  

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Object and purpose of the Map Tool

The current version of the Map Tool is intended to support pilots of unmanned aerial vehicles (hereinafter: drones) to plan and carry out drone flights. To this end, basic maps of the Federal Republic of Germany and the corresponding geozones are provided in the tool. Moreover, pilots can use the Map Tool to check whether their intended flight zone overlaps with any geozones.

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Introduction to the Map Tool

Getting started

The map display and the information provided can vary while in use depending on whether you accept cookies and share your location, for example. But don’t worry. You can change your preferences at any time and you can delete the cookies in your browser’s settings.  

When you use the tool for the first time, you will be asked by default whether you want to share your location. If you don’t want to share your location or if you have deleted the corresponding cookies, the map focus will automatically be centred on the city of Berlin.

When the website loads for the first time, no geozones are shown. Likewise, the "Overlapping Geozones" menu is display and can hide various other buttons of the map. To access these controls, close the menu e.g. by clicking on the "Overlapping Geozones" button.

In general, the tool is divided into different sections:  

  • The header
  • The footer
  • The main section with the actual map and controls
Screenshot: Map Tool display when loaded for the first time without sharing the location


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Overview (user interface and navigation elements)

Header

The header is found in the upper section of the Map Tool and contains the different navigation elements as well as external links. The external links can be used to access the other pages of the Digital Platform for Unmanned Aviation and the website of the Federal Ministry for Digital and Transport.

The following elements are shown in the header:

Element

Description

 Logo dipul

Opens the homepage of the Digital Platform for Unmanned Aviation (dipul)

BMDV

Link to the homepage of the Federal Ministry for Digital and Transport (BMDV)

Help

Opens a pop-up message with a link to instructions for and help for:

  • The dipul homepage
  • The Map Tool and
  • The Web Map Service

Kontact

Opens a pop-up message with a link to the Contact form.

English

Language selection (currently German and English)

Table: Header elements 

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Footer (lower right corner of the screen)

The footer is in the lower right corner of the map. It contains the navigation elements or external links, e.g. to other pages or information on the Digital Platform for Unmanned Aviation.

 

The following elements are shown in the footer:

Element

Description

Publication data

Opens a pop-up message with a link to the publication data page: Information on the responsible person under press law as required by law.

Privacy

Opens a pop-up message with a link to the privacy page: Information on data protection as required by law.

User information

Opens a pop-up message with a link to the user information: Legal notes, legal base, disclaimers.

Version info

Provides information on the current version of the Map Tool that is currently used.

 Table: Footer elements

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Main section

The main section of the screen displays the map with the various control elements. The map and the menu displays can vary greatly depending on the actions carried out by the user. The following description of the main section and navigation elements displayed assumes that the user is opening the map for the first time.

The following elements are shown in the main section:

Element

Description

Input field address search

Find place:
Find place/address function with suggestions Valid parameters: Town/city, postal code, street (also with house number) 

A Berlin example address with coordinates

Position of location mark:
Provides the exact position of the location mark when it is placed on the map.

Text (screenshot from the Maptool): Coordinates cannot be displayed at this zoom level. Please zoom in.

Information field:
The geozone display depends on the zoom level used (height from which the map is viewed). When the information field is displayed, you are outside the geozone display range. Use the zoom element and click on the + symbol to zoom in and display more details. The information field disappears and geozones can be displayed if they have been activated in the menu.

Show geozones

‘Geozones’ button (Map layers):
Click on this button to open the ‘Map layers’ menu and display a list of all zones where flight restrictions currently apply. Activate/Deactivate the checkbox next to a zone to display/hide the zone or activate the ‘Select all’ checkbox to display/hide all zones.

Map layers button

‘Overlapping Geozones’ button:
Click on this button to open the ‘Overlapping geozones’ with the following functionality/views:
"Overlapping Geozones - Flight Zone Definition View",
"Overlapping Geozones - Overlapping Geozones View",
"Overlapping Geozones - Geozone Details View". 

Map section showing the circle drawing dialogue. The button shows the text "Start drawing".

‘Overlapping geozones’ menu, flight zone definition view

Here, you can draw/define the intended flight zone and start the validation for existing geozones in this flight zone. Currently, only circles can be defined as flight zones.

To define the flight zone, click on the ‘Start Drawing’ button and click on the location in the map where the intended centre of the circle is to be located. Next, use the mouse to drag the circle to the required radius and then left-click to confirm the circle (more details can be found here). The menu automatically displays the coordinates of the centre point as well as the defined radius. Both the centre point coordinates and the radius can be changed via the menu; changes are displayed immediately in the map.

You can also enter the planned maximum height of your drone flight via the menu using the ‘Altitude above ground level (m)’ field.

Please note that the centre point coordinates can currently only be specified in the decimal format and the radius of the flight zone must not exceed 3000 metres.

Once the flight zone has been defined, you can check for overlaps of your planned flight zone and geozones using the ‘List geozones in circle’ button

Screenshot, extract from map tool with layer"Überlappende Geozonen" (overlapping geozones) open.

’Overlapping geozones’ menu, overlapping geozones view:

This view opens automatically after the check for overlaps of the intended flight zone and geozones has been performed in the flight zone definition view, or the location mark (click on map) has been set on the map.

If the intended flight zone or the position of the location mark overlaps with existing geozones, these geozones are listed in this view. You can display further information on a geozone by selecting it.

Use the button (arrow in front of "Overlapping Geozones") to return to the next higher level (Overlapping Geozones - Flight Zone Definition View). 

Detail view of  the overlapping geozone Berlin. There is shown the name of the geozone, an identifier, lower and upper limit of height and the legal reference.

’Overlapping geozones’ menu, geozone details view:
This view shows additional information on a selected geozone.

This view is displayed only if there is an overlap with a geozone and and when details have been requested by clicking on a geozone, via the view "Overlapping geozones - View geozones". The button (arrow in front of 'Geozones') takes you back to the next higher level ("Overlapping Geozones - View Geozones").

Compass needle to determine the orientation of the map

‘Rotate map’ button
By default, the map is oriented with the north up.  If you want to change the orientation of the map or if you have changed the orientation, you can click on this button to align the map with north up again.. You can find out how to change the orientation of the map here

blue placemark on a map

Location mark:
Click on the map to place the location mark. The exact position of the mark will be shown in the „Placemark position" field. In addition, the system tests whether geozones exist at this position. The result is then displayed in the menu "Overlapping geozones - View geozones".

Maßstab

Scale with length data and unit.

Map button for choosing the map layout

Map layout:
Changes the map layout and choose, for example, between grayscale, night vision or satellite view.

Center button

Centre map:
Centres the map on the initial starting point (Berlin) or on your current location if you have agreed to share your location. 

Image of zoom button

Zoom:
Zoom in/out of the map to display fewer/more details.

Buttons for accessibility settings

Accessibility plug-in by digiAccess:
Menu with accessibility settings

Visual indication when entering values with active keyboard navigation
If you are using the digiAccess plug-in and have activated the keyboard navigation with the Tab key, you need to press the Enter key before you can type in a value. The edge of the input field the changes to a dashed yellow line. Otherwise, pressing a key will execute control commands.


Table: Elements of the map

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Using the Map Tool

Many of the navigation elements in the header and footer of the Map Tool are just external links to other pages or provide access to knowledge/information that does not require further description. Therefore, only the functionality of the map is described below.

Just like many other map navigation applications, the Map Tool can also be used intuitively via keys, the mouse or touch screen (depending on the device).

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Move map

Move the cursor (e.g. the mouse pointer) to a position on the map. Left-click and hold while you drag the map. Now you can move the map to the required location. Repeat this procedure, if necessary, until you have reached/found the required location. For large distances, adjust the scale of the map (zoom in/out of the map) to move a larger section. When you have found the location, you can mark it (by left-clicking). A blue location marker is displayed and the system tests whether geozones exist at this point. You can find more detailed information about the placemarking here.

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Zoom in/out

Image of zoom button

Move the cursor to a position on the map. Ideally, you should position your target location in the centre of the area shown in the browser and the cursor directly above it. Now scroll with the mouse wheel (back or forth). Depending on the chosen direction, the map displayed shows more or fewer details. Instead of the mouse wheel, you can also use the zoom element (see image on the left). Press the Tab button multiple times to activate the element on screen. To actually use the required function, press Enter. Another option to zoom in the map is double-clicking with the left mouse button.



The level of detail of the map and the size of the zone shown depend on the zoom level used (i.e. the height from which the map is viewed). When the zoom element on the screen is active, click on (+) to zoom in and on (-) to zoom out. 

The following applies:
Low magnification: little detail, large zone displayed
High magnification: a lot of detail, small zone displayed

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Rotate map

Compass needle to determine the orientation of the map

The orientation of the map on the screen is indicated by the compass needle (see picture). The tip of the compass needle points north on the map. By default, north is up with the tip of the compass needle pointing to the top of the screen. There are two ways to change the orientation of the map, rotating the map around the center of the screen:
1. With the Ctrl key pressed and held down, the left mouse button must also be pressed and held down and the mouse moved up or down or sideways to the left or right or in circles.
2 Alternatively, you can also rotate the map with a key combination. To do this, you must activate the rotation by pressing the compass needle button. Then first press and hold 'Ctrl' and then rotate the map using  the 'Right arrow' or 'Left arrow' keys.

To align the map with north up again, press the compass needle in the lower left corner of the map.

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Change map layout

Screenshot with element for choosing map layout

You can change the layout of the background map depending on your preferences and needs. To do so, left-click on the ‘Map layout’ navigation element or use the Tab button to navigate to the element and press Enter to activate it. Now, the element is expanded and a choice of layouts displayed. Click left on the required layout or use the Enter button to activate it.

The map is now displayed with your chosen layout.

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Find place

Input field address search

You can also input the required target zone or location directly via the search field in the upper left section of the Map Tool. Place the cursor in the search field, left-click to activate the field and enter the location via the keyboard. When you are using the keyboard and have the digiAccess plug-in activated, press Enter to start entering your target area or location. The system searches for locations of this name and displays them below the search field. If no locations are shown, additional letters need to added until the location is found and displayed. It might also be necessary to correct the spelling.
Now you can choose a location from the displayed list. If more than one location is shown for a name you have entered, the first list entry is chosen automatically when the Enter key is pressed. The focus of the map will then be moved to the chosen location and a new blue (location) mark will be displayed.

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Location mark (Click on Map)

blue placemark on a map

The location mark has two functions:
1. after the location mark has been set, the exact coordinates of its position are displayed in the field "Position of Location mark".
2. In addition, when the location mark is placed on the map, it is tested whether geozones exist at its. A test radius of one (1) meter around the location mark is used, which, depending on the resolution, can be seen as a small dot at the top of the placemark. If the test reveals an overlap with geozones at the position of the location mark, they are displayed accordingly in the menu "Overlapping geozones - View geozones" aufgelistet.   

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Show/hide geozones

Screenshot with map layers shown

Menu to show/hide the geozones where flight operations are restricted. Click on this control element to show/hide the geographical zones defined based on the current German Rules of the Air Regulations (LuftVO). You can select individual elements or a combination of elements.
To do so, left-click on the ‘Map layers’ menu or use the Tab and Enter keys to navigate to the element and open it. Now, the sub-menu opens and the individual geozones are displayed. You can show/hide the individual zones by activating/deactivating the corresponding checkbox(es). This displays (Show zone) or removes (Hide zone) the checkmark in the previous checkbox. Your changes are immediately reflected in the map.  

The geozone display depends on the zoom level used, i.e. the height from which the map is viewed. If you are outside this area, no geozones are displayed. 

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Create flight zone

The following is a description of how to plan a flight route (in the current version, only circles are available as flight zones) and how to check for overlaps with existing geographical zones based on the German Rules of the Air Regulations (LuftVO). This check can also be carried out without activating the geozones. The planned flight zone can be defined by entering the flight parameters in the corresponding input fields in menu "Overlapping Geozones - Flight Zone Definition View", or by drawing a circle (the flight zone) directly into the map.


Draw circle

Map section showing the circle drawing dialogue. The button shows the text "Start drawing".
Opened tab "Overlapping Geozones - Flight Zone Definition View" after activating the button 'Start Drawing'. The cursor (mouse pointer) is on the map. There is a green dot at the tip of the mouse pointer.

To draw a flight area (currently only circles), you must be in the menu "Overlapping Geozones - View Flight Area Definition" (see previous/next picture). Click on the button "Start drawing", which should then be displayed inactive. If this is not the case, repeat the previous step. Then move the cursor on the map to the center of your planned flight area.

There will now be a green dot at the tip of the mouse pointer. If this is not the case, start again from the beginning. Confirm the position (left mouse button). Release the left mouse button.

When the centre point has been defined, you must release the mouse button to draw the radius. If you click and hold the mouse button, the map moves.

Map extract which shows a part of the circle drawing dialog and a part of the map. The button is labelled with "Zeichnung aufhören" ("stop drawing"). On the map is now  a green circle which circles the green point.

Now move the mouse pointer to the edge of the planned flight zone. A circle is displayed around the defined centre point. The radius of the circle is displayed in meters in the centre. To define the edge or end of the circle of your planned flight zone, mark it by left-clicking. The flight area is now marked out. Manual corrections to the radius of your flight zone can be made in the ‘Radius (max. 3 000 m)’ field in the ‘Overlapping geozones’ menu. The height of your planned flight can be determined in the ‘Altitude above ground level (m)’ field. 



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List geozones in circle

Kartenausschnitt, der den  unteren Teil des "Kreis zeichnen" Dialogs auf der Landkarte zeigt. Der Button "Geozonen im Kreis auflisten" ist aktiv, da alle Eingabefleder ausgefüllt sind.

When the flight zone has been defined, the ‘List geozones in circle’ button is activated.

Click on the ‘List geozones in circle’ button to start the check. The system now checks the flight zone you have defined for overlaps with any geozones and lists them under the ‘Geozones’ menu item. The ‘Geozones’ menu item opens automatically irrespective of the result of the check. 

Note:
Setting the location mark after the check of a flight area will override the previous results. You can create a new flight area after pressing the button 'Delete all'.

Useful information on the check
To check for overlaps between the planned flight zone and geozones, the tool uses a cylinder formed by the parameters height and radius. The parameters must be expressed in metres. If the cylinder touches, crosses or is located within one or more geozones, they are displayed in a list. The check can also be performed when no geozones are displayed.
Permissible values:
- Height >= 0 m
- Radius: 0 to 3000 m

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Display of affected geozones

Screenshot, extract from map tool with layer"Überlappende Geozonen" (overlapping geozones) open.

The ‘Overlapping geozones’ menu item is automatically opened and displayed after the check for overlaps has been performed. If this is not the case, please open the menu manually. To do so, left-click on the ‘List geozones in circle’ button or use the Tab and Enter keys. If necessary, repeat the check (see also ‘List geozones in circle’).
If geozones are listed under this menu item, a flight is only possible subject to restrictions. Therefore, all zones listed here need to be checked. Familiarize yourself with the requirements, obtain the necessary permissions from official or private sector parties and take the necessary and required measures. To display the details on the specified zones, left-click on the corresponding item in the list. 

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Details zu den betroffenen Geozonen

Detail view of  the overlapping geozone Berlin. There is shown the name of the geozone, an identifier, lower and upper limit of height and the legal reference.

The detailed view of an affected geozone will automatically open when you click on the corresponding geozone under the ‘Overlapping geozones’ menu item.

In the detailed view, you will find further information, such as the lower and upper altitude limits of the geozone and a reference to the paragraph/section of the German Rules of the Air Regulations (LuftVO) based on which the geozone was defined.


If you want to fly in a zone with several affected geozones, you have to obtain permission from all relevant parties.

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Centre map on starting point

Center button

Use the ‘Center map’ button in the lower right corner of the Map Tool to centre the map on your current position (if you have chosen to share your location). If you have chosen not to share your location, the map will always be centred on the city of Berlin when this button used.


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Keyboard controls for the map tool

During the development of dipul, value was placed on a web interface that can be operated with a keyboard to optimally support people with motor disabilities and screen reader users. At this point we explain the keyboard operations of the map tool.

Basically, you have two options to navigate by keyboard:

  • Using the build-in keyboard navigation (standard),
  • Using the DIGIaccess plugin. If you decide to use the DIGIaccess plugin some additional keyboard controls are available. If you then want to make inputs in the form fields, you first have to switch off these additional controls by pressing [Enter].

Note: Even if you do not activate keyboard operation via the DIGIacces plugin you can operate the map tool by keyboard. The notice of activation of keyboard navigation in the map tool only refers to the extended keyboard navigation provided by the DIGIaccess plugin.

It is not needed to activate the build-in keyboard navigation as it works out of the box. The following commands are always:

Keystroke

Function

[Tab]

When pressing the tabulation  key, the next available interaction element will be selected. 

[Shift]+[Tab]

This keystroke combination allows you to go back to the previous element.

If you want to enable keyboard navigation of the DIGIaccess plugin, press the [Tab] key after entering the page. You will be prompted to enable keyboard navigation. With [Enter] you confirm the activation.

If you don’t want to use the DIGIaccess keyboard navigation, do not confirm the request to enable keyboard navigation, but instead press the [Tab] key again.

By activating the DIGaccess keyboard navigation you get a legend with explanations of additional shortcuts.

Keystroke

Function

[Arrow keys]

Alternative for choosing next elements. These keys work in all directions

[Shift]+[Tab]

With this keyboard combination you can go back to the previous element

[F2]

Open DIGIaccess tool

[Escape]

Close elements

[STRG]+[F2]

Open legend for keyboard navigation (cf. Figure)

A

Jump to next link

N

Jump to next menu item

B

Jump to next button

H

Jump to next heading

[Enter] or [Space]

Selection of an element. In form fields: Activating the input function of the form field. The yellow focus border from the DIGIaccess plugin changes to be dashed if activated. Without activation the keyboard shortcuts remain, i.e., you then cannot use some letters in form fields.

Other commands which are described for keyboard navigation in the legend are not relevant for using the map tool.

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Operate special functions of the map tool using the keyboard

Most map tool functions can also be controlled by keyboard. In this section we will detail it more.

Function

How to use

Search for address

Tab to the address field. There you can input an address. With arrow keys you can choose the right address.

Information about geozones for a selected area

Tab to layer „Overlapping geozones”. There are several form fields for input data.

In “center coordinates” you can input the centre coordinates of the area in which you want to get information. In the field “radius” is used to set the radius in meters. The maximum value is 3000 m. If necessary, put in the maximum flight altitude in the “Altitude above ground level” field. After filling in all fields with valid values, use the “List geozones in circle” button. As a result, you get a list of all geozones which have been found in the area. The details of each zone can be viewed using thebuttons in the results list. 

Zoom in

For zoom in of the map you have got two options:

  • Tab to the „Zoom in” button. With [Enter] key you enlarge the map section.
  • Tab to the “compass needle” (bottom left). With [+] key you enlarge the map section.

Zoom out

For zoom out the map you have got two options:

  • Tab to the „Zoom out” button. With [Enter] key you reduce the map section.
  • Tab to the “compass needle” (bottom left”. With [-] key you reduce the map section.

Centre map

To centre the map tab to the centre button and execute the centre function by [Enter] key.

Move map

The map is moveable by arrow keys if you tab to the “compass needle” button.

Rotate map

To rotate the map tab to the “compass needle” (bottom left).

  • If you hold down the [CTRL] key and press the right arrow key at the same time, you rotate the map 15° clockwise.
  • If you hold down the [CTRL] key and press the left arrow key at the same time, you rotate the map 15° counterclockwise.
  • If you are on the “compass needle” (bottom left) und press [Enter] key, you reset the rotation to 0°.

„Click on Map“

With a mouse click on the map, this function indicates the current coordinates and the clicked address. A native keyboard alternative is not available.

However, it is possible to use the native resources of your operating system to achieve keyboard operation.

Windows 10:

  • Select the Start button, then select Settings > Ease of Access. You get a dialogue with settings.
  • Select “mouse” from the options. You get a new dialogue “Control your mouse with a keypad”.
  • Turn the mouse control on.
  • With the link “Change other mouse options” you can set more options, for example the speed.

Windows 7:

Use the following manual from Microsoft:

https://support.microsoft.com/en-gb/windows/use-mouse-keys-to-move-the-mouse-pointer-9e0c72c8-b882-7918-8e7b-391fd62adf33

Apple MacOS

Use the following manual from Apple:

https://support.apple.com/en-gb/guide/mac-help/mh27469/mac

Linux Ubuntu:

There is also a  manual for Linux Ubuntu available:

https://help.ubuntu.com/stable/ubuntu-help/mouse-mousekeys.html.en

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