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Planet Incubator Program

About ASU's Planet Incubator Program

In 2019, Arizona State University joined forces with Planet as its first institutional data partner for higher education. Operating the largest constellation of satellites currently in low Earth orbit, Planet acquires daily global coverage of the entire landmass of our planet and its coral reefs at an astonishing three to five meter resolution. Many of these satellites are as small as a loaf of bread but, operating together, they collect over 11 terabytes of data every single day.

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How You Can Benefit

All ASU students and researchers have free access to Planet’s growing catalog of imagery through the Planet Education and Research Departmental and Campus License program. Research that can benefit from this data includes: landcover change, vegetation applications, agriculture, hydrology and cryosphere research, coral reef research, as well as human geographical and social applications. The ability to observe environments frequently and at high resolution via Planet’s Dove and RapidEye satellites provides new insights into their dynamic properties.

Some of the potential educational opportunities with the data include:

  • Python programming for Geoscience: Planet data is an excellent source of data with many Earth science applications.
  • Geographic Information Systems (GIS): Planet data can easily be ingested into popular GIS applications, opening up a variety of project opportunities for students.
  • Artificial Intelligence (AI) for Earth Science: Advanced applications such as AI and computer vision can utilize Planet imagery.
  • Google Earth Engine: Planet’s API allows for users to feed their data into Google Earth Engine for advanced processing in the cloud.

Unlike most other free data, the images from Planet have a three to five meter resolution, much higher than the 30 meter data from Landsat or Sentinel. At that resolution, all kinds of opportunities open up to use object identification or artificial intelligence (AI) for advanced applications.


Not comfortable with something that sounds so techie? Not to worry, check out the tutorials below to learn how to roam through the data to identify and download the data that you need. The data exist in different flavors and formats, from visuals for general illustrations to analytic products for data science applications.

The tutorials are designed for various levels of expertise. The easiest one is to use the Planet Explorer or Basemap Viewer websites to roam through the data to filter through images by location, date range, cloud cover, and many other attributes. One you’ve identified the data that work for your project or application, you can download the data. You can also establish routine searches to always be on the look-out for the latest imagery of your area of interest (AOI). The possibilities are endless!


Wondering how you can make use of Planet imagery and don’t know where to start?

Take advantage of the new virtual office hours where a skilled remote sensing specialist can answer your questions and give you advice and guidance on using Planet imagery.

Just send an email to with your questions or problem description.  We can even arrange a Zoom meeting to show demonstrations.

Mosaicking Planet Data Using QGIS

This tutorial will focus on the use of QGIS for mosaicking Planet Images, but similar functionality exists in ArcGIS. As an sample use case, this tutorial will create a mosaic of various tiles from a Planet basemap.

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Getting Planet Data Using the Command Line

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Downloading Planet Data Using the Website

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Learn About Planet Science Applications

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Planet Incubator Signup and Download Data

This video tutorial shows you how to sign-up for ASU-Planet Incubator and Download Data.  The video has a 5:54 running time.

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QGIS false color composite

Reading your Planet Data into QGIS

This video tutorial shows you how to load and view Planet data in QGIS.  Video running time is 4:22.

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Reprojecting Planet Dove Images in QGIS

This video tutorial shows you how to reproject a Planet Dove image in QGIS.  Video running time is 4:00.

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Planet plugin to QGIS

Using the Planet Explorer Plugin to QGIS

This video tutorial shows you how to install and use the Planet Explorer plugin for QGIS.  This allows users to search for, order, and download data while intereacting with their other data in QGIS.

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Planet Imagery with Python

Planet Setup

Planet Setup

This video is an excerpt from the "Planet Imagery with Python" webinar given on August 28, 2020.  It describes the steps needed to install and run the Planet API client in the Google Colab environment.  It also explains how to connect with Google Drive as a location from which data can be read and written in the Colab environment.

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Planet NDVI

Calculating NDVI with Planet using Python

This video is an excerpt from the "Planet Imagery with Python" webinar given on August 28, 2020.  This video covers how to calculate NDVI from Planet data using the Google Colab environment with the Python programming language. 

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Planet Classify

Classify Python Imagery with Python

This video is an excerpt from the "Planet Imagery with Python" webinar given on August 28, 2020.  This video covers how to classify a Planet image using the Python programming language in the Google Colab environment.

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Planet Points

Planet Imagery and Point data

This video is an excerpt from the "Planet Imagery with Python" webinar given on August 28, 2020.  This video covers how to use Planet imagery with vector (point) data using the Python programming language in the Google Colab environment.

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Planet Clouds

Masking Clouds in Planet Data

This video is an excerpt from the "Planet Imagery with Python" webinar given on August 28, 2020.  This video covers how to mask clouds using the Google Colab environment with the Python programming language. 

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Planet Data for Agriculture

This video tutorial (7 min., 46 sec.) shows you how to use Planet imagery to identify agricultural fields that have significantly reduced NDVI from one image to another.  This can give a rough indication of what fields have been harvested during a growing season.

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Searching for Images with Planet Add-In for ArcGIS Pro

This video tutorial shows you how to use the Planet Add-In for ArcGIS Pro to search and place an order for imagery.  You can refer to this link to get ArcGIS Pro.  This link can get you the Planet Add-In.

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ArcGIS Planet Mosaic

Mosaic Planet Data in ArcGIS

This video tutorial (3 min., 43 sec.) shows you how to insert Planet imagery into your ArcGIS Pro project and how to mosaic them into a seamless image.

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ArcGIS Pro Stats

ArcGIS Pro Statistics from Planet Images

This video tutorial (4 min. 37 secs.) demonstrates how to get statistics from a Planet image under a set of polygons using ArcGIS Pro.

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Most requests can take as little as 15 minutes, but it may take up to 48 hours.

Planet requests that you use the following reference:

Planet Team (2017). Planet Application Program Interface: In Space for Life on Earth. San Francisco, CA.

However, you may also want to include an acknowledgement that the data were provided through Planet's Education and Research Program.
If you’ve already used an ASU email address for a 14-day free trial, please create a new ASU email alias and use that email address to register for the Planet Incubator account.
The Planet Incubator program gives you access to Dove and RapidEye data. SkySat data is not included, although we can help you contact Planet about getting access to that data through another arrangement.
The images come in various resolutions. The PlanetScope data are generally at 3m, RapidEye is at 5m.
The most popular format is GeoTIFF, which can be read into ArcGIS, QGIS, and many other GIS and image processing programs. There are also various levels of products. Some are for visualization, but others are for analytical work, such as surface reflectance. You can contact for more information about what product might be best for you.
If you need help, feel free to email! They can help with questions about Planet data and even arrange for an online meeting to help you out.

How to Access Planet Data

Are you interested in exploring the research and educational possibilities of Planet data?  If so, sign up for your email invitation to create your Planet account with your ASU email,  after which you will be able to access imagery via the Planet Explorer website.

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