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Planet satellite view

Planet is a six-year-old startup company in Cupertino, California. What they have accomplished is amazing. Their vision was to take high-resolution pictures of the Earth from space. They built small special purpose satellites, developed systems to keep track of them and gather data from them, and arranged rocket launches to put the satellites in orbit.

Planet started with seven people in a garage and today employs nearly 500 people in offices around the world. They have launched over 300 satellites. Planet captures daily high-resolution images of the planet which are accessible on the web. In effect, Planet has done for the physical status of every piece of the planet what Google did for information.

Because Planet provides updated high-resolution images of every square foot of Earth every day, the applications to take advantage of this data are limitless. Governments can identify and monitor transit infrastructure and construction projects. Viewing this information and comparing it to the day or month or year before, can help them in planning for future needs. Economists can see how many ships are in harbors, trucks on the road, or cars in parking lots. Insurance companies can compare before and after conditions to validate claims. Business planners can analyze retail data including traffic patterns and car counts in parking lots.

Planet is building an important business, but is also working with a growing network of international agencies, scientists, and social innovators to develop new, scalable and inclusive new approaches to the challenges of ecological and social challenges. They are hoping to improve humanitarian response with real-time imagery and damage assessments, and alerting authorities to illegal deforestation before it becomes endemic.