MAAP #59: Power Of “Small Satellites” From Planet

May 8, 2017


The company Planet is pioneering the use of high-resolution “small satellites” (Image 59a). They are a fraction of the size and cost of traditional satellites, making it possible to produce and launch many as a large fleet. Indeed, Planet now operates 149 small satellites, known as Doves, the largest fleet in history. The Doves capture color imagery at 3-5 meter resolution, and will line up (like a string of pearls) to cover everywhere on Earth’s land area every day.

Image 59a. Source: Planet
Image 59a. Source: Planet

Over the past year, MAAP* has demonstrated the power of Planet imagery to monitor deforestation and degradation in near real-time in the Amazon. A consistent flow of new, high-resolution imagery is needed for this type of work, making Planet’s fleet model ideal. Below, we provide a recap of key MAAP findings based on Planet imagery, for a diverse set of cases including gold mining, agriculture deforestation, logging roads, wildfire, blowdowns, landslides, and floods.**

*MAAP has been fortunate to have access to Planet imagery via the Ambassador program.
**Note: In the images below, the red dot () indicates the same location across time between panels.