SAN FRANCISCO, Sept. 28, 2015—Planet Labs today announced that $60 million worth of its satellite imagery would be made openly available and accessible to the global community. This is one of the largest philanthropic investments of geospatial imagery ever. It will be a valuable asset in meeting the Sustainable Development Goals (Global Goals), which were recently ratified during the 70th session of the United Nations. Planet Labs CEO and co-founder Will Marshall made the commitment at a gathering hosted by the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data (GPSDD) in conjunction with the United Nations Summit on Sustainable Development.
“At Planet Labs we’re devoted to making our data open and accessible, particularly where it can help the global development agenda, improve human lives and protect biodiversity,” said Will Marshall, CEO and Co-Founder of Planet Labs. “Planet Labs is committed to making our satellite imagery available to efforts that support the newly announced Global Goals. Today, we are announcing an initial commitment of $60 million in imagery of select regions, to enable people to use this data to develop tools and capabilities that will extend across the globe.”
Planet Labs has estimated its imagery can be used to directly or indirectly advance 15 of 17 Global Goals, and to measure more than 70 of their associated targets by tracking daily environmental change, urban development and economic indicators on a global scale. Planet Labs is committed to working with UN agencies and member states to increase their technical capacity and access to this type of data. This information, in tandem with other data sources, will provide the foundation of knowledge to decisively address the Global Goals.
This imagery will be made available through a new Planet Labs initiative called “Open Regions,” under a creative commons license, and will be directly accessible online through their imaging platform. The imagery can be used to monitor deforestation, measure and combat climate change, and increase food security through increased crop yield, among countless other applications. Planet Labs collects imagery at a resolution that allows for detailed change detection, but that does not violate personal privacy.
“The Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data is intended to advance the role of data-driven decision making in meeting the Sustainable Development Goals,” said Sanjeev Khagram, Architect of the Global Partnership on Sustainable Development Data. “Not only is Planet Labs’ data unique and sure to provide significant insight, but their demonstrated leadership and extraordinary commitment raises the bar, and is an example we hope many other private-sector organizations will be inspired to emulate.”
“Timely, accurate data drives effective action — without it, we have little hope of meeting the challenges of this century,” said Robert Kirkpatrick, Director of UN Global Pulse. “Planet Labs’ remarkable act of data philanthropy will advance efforts at measuring and achieving the Global Goals, and spur the creation of new data-driven approaches to inclusive sustainable development and climate action.”
This announcement caps off a historic series of events for Planet Labs at the UN that included a rare opportunity to address the UN at the Sustainable Development Summit.
About Planet Labs
Planet Labs is a startup based in San Francisco, founded by former NASA employees that collects information about our changing planet via a fleet of compact, highly capable Earth-imaging satellites. Planet Labs’ mission is to image the entire Earth, every day, and to ensure universal access to this data. The broad coverage and high frequency of Planet Labs’ satellite imagery will enable customers unprecedented access to global and local insights that currently are either impossible or cost-prohibitive to obtain. Learn more at www.planet.com and @planetlabs.