By Aaron Eben
In an age where innovation is reaching for the stars, one company has soared to new heights, quite literally, to transform how we observe and understand our planet. Planet Labs PBC, an aerospace and data corporation, is at the forefront of a revolution that has altered the landscape of satellite imagery and geospatial technology. With a firm commitment to advancing global change, Planet has not only propelled the capabilities of space hardware but has also harnessed the power of data to address some of the world’s most pressing challenges.
Planet’s journey began with a bold approach – iterating to build space hardware. The company embraced the concept of using off-the-shelf technology, a departure from traditional aerospace practices. This innovative thinking allowed Planet to quickly and efficiently assemble a constellation of hundreds of satellites in low Earth orbit, creating the largest imaging constellation ever seen. This strategic move drastically lowered costs, democratizing access to satellite imagery and disrupting the space industry’s status quo.
However, Planet’s ambition didn’t stop at simply launching satellites. They transformed from a hardware-focused entity into a platform technology company. By using their own sensors alongside other available data sources, including collaborations with renowned partners like NASA, ESA, and Bayer, Planet has become an indispensable resource for various industries and sectors.
The impact of Planet’s satellite imagery and data is far-reaching, spanning numerous applications and industries. For instance, in the agricultural sector, the partnership with Bayer has empowered farmers to optimize crop yield and resource management, contributing to global food security. On the governmental front, federal, state, and local governments benefit from Planet’s insights to inform policy decisions and disaster response strategies. With an unmatched ability to capture images of the entire Earth’s landmass every day, at an unprecedented resolution, the company has unleashed a torrent of information. From monitoring changes in the Earth’s surface to studying cryogeomorphology, these images provide an essential ingredient in solving critical global challenges. The integration of artificial intelligence (AI) further amplifies the potential of Planet’s data. AI-driven analysis promises to unlock new layers of insight, enabling solutions that were previously unthinkable.
Planet’s mission to make global change visible, accessible, and actionable is more than a lofty ideal – it’s a reality. The company’s efforts extend beyond their business operations to encompass initiatives that drive positive impact. Through collaborations with non-profit organizations, researchers, journalists, and NGOs, Planet enables informed decision-making. From mangrove restoration projects to in-depth scientific research, the data collected becomes a catalyst for meaningful change.
Collaboration lies at the heart of Planet’s success, and the company’s list of partners continues to grow. Their network of over 150 partnerships with universities and research centers, including notable collaborations with institutions like the University of Copenhagen, exemplifies the global impact of their work. The acquisition of companies like Vandersat, Salo Sciences, and Sinergise underscores Planet’s commitment to enhancing data analysis tools and making data truly actionable. These partnerships drive innovation and research, yielding findings that have the potential to reshape our understanding of the planet and its interconnected systems.
Learn more about Planet here