Planet imagery shows the crowded Great Mosque of Mecca, Islam’s holiest site, on January 25, 2020 (left), and again on March 10, 2020 (right), after the nation limited access to the shrine and suspended all entrance and prayers. © 2020, Planet Labs Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Curious Planeteer working to make the Earth's changes visible, accessible and actionable.

2020: A Historic Year in Review


With a challenging 2020 behind us, I wanted to take a moment to recap an exceptional year for Planet, and peek into the year ahead. First, I want to acknowledge our team. I’m so proud of the resilience Planet has shown throughout this past year. Like many of you, we didn’t know what to expect when we closed our offices in March and transitioned into a remote workforce. In that time, I’ve been continually inspired by the team’s unflinching commitment to building and operating satellites and delivering our data to more customers than ever. Thanks to the team’s incredible work, 2020 was a banner year for Planet’s business. 

We saw significant year-over-year growth across all of our product lines–monitoring, tasking, analytics, basemaps–reflecting strong demand for the entire Planet product portfolio. We had continued strength in multi-year deals and are experiencing demand for our data by users in civil government, forestry, the U.S. federal government, and academia. We also saw continued interest from customers using Planet data to understand and address the environment crisis. 

We signed a first-of-its-kind contract with Norway’s International Climate and Forests Initiative (NICFI) to combat global deforestation across 64 tropical countries. Everbridge, the global leader in Critical Event Management, will now use Planet data to help organizations assess the severity of critical events and organize response. We also expanded our partnership with Esri, enabling users of the market-leading GIS platform to purchase and access Planet’s data directly.

In October, we virtually welcomed over 3,000 customers, partners, and influencers to our annual Explore Conference, where we made a series of exciting product announcements, including: 

  • Planet Fusion Monitoring is Planet’s first in a series of game-changing Fusion products that combine multiple data types and refine them into a single information stream. 
  • Rapid Revisit, 50cm SkySat is now live and available to customers.
  • Automated Change Detection allows customers to efficiently locate where change has occurred in roads or buildings across the globe. 
  • With Custom Model Development, customers can work with Planet’s professional services team to quickly define their own land classification models that are completely bespoke to their needs and can be deployed at-scale as a Planet Analytic Feed.

At the event, we heard from insightful keynote speakers like Vice President Al Gore, Dr. Jane Goodall, Mike Bloomberg, and announced a partnership with the Jane Goodall Institute. If you missed any of our exciting announcements at Explore2020, catch all of the sessions on-demand

And this wouldn’t be a Planet year-in-review without talking about space! We launched our final six SkySats (SkySats 16-21) across two SpaceX Falcon 9 launches, completing our fleet of 21 high-resolution satellites and delivering expanded capacity and revisit capabilities to our customers. We continued to build and launch our next-generation SuperDoves that are equipped with new sensors, enabling sharper, more vibrant colors and accurate surface reflectance values that will help customers in agriculture, forestry, and government unlock new types of analysis and modelling. And finally, after 11 years in orbit, we said goodbye to our fleet of RapidEye satellites. The constellation was in operation nearly four years longer than its design life and generated the largest global archive of five meter satellite imagery to date. 

On the people side, we expanded our already stellar team. We welcomed talented new leaders to the company, Wendy Tan White on our Board of Directors, Rosanne Saccone as our first CMO, and Ashley Fieglein Johnson as CFO. Our teams in Europe grew to support increased demand and we’re also doubling down on our efforts to make Planet a diverse and inclusive environment. 

So, what’s next for Planet? 

In 2021, we plan to lean a little harder into sustainability. As you know, Planet remains committed to increasing global transparency and fostering greater understanding and care for our environment and wildlife. We believe satellite data can play an important role in measuring, recording, and accounting for climate change goals of governments and ESG goals of corporations, and we’re eager to help these organizations achieve their sustainability goals in 2021. We will continue to pursue growth in agricultural and government markets, and build demand in newer markets like forestry and state and local government. We’ll be launching more satellites, equipped with the latest technology to deliver the best global data, and perhaps even more importantly, continue to improve the insights, delivery and ease of use of our software to enable our users to gain value from it.

I’ll end this by sharing a few of my favorite news clippings from the year that show how we continue to shed light on global affairs. 

Follow along on our Twitter account for big updates to come in 2021!