PlanetScope image of the Permian basin © 2018, Planet Labs Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Curious Planeteer working to make the Earth's changes visible, accessible and actionable.

Energy Basemaps: Weekly Snapshots Driving Better Decisions


The energy industry has seen an unprecedented amount of growth in the last six years – solar power capacity has increased 15x, wind energy has increased 1.8x to account for nearly 6.5% of total electricity consumption – and the oil and gas industry is no different. US Field Production levels are as high as they were in the 1970s and are continually growing at over 10,000 barrels per day, similar to Saudi Arabia.

But this isn’t a story about renewables or energy independence. Before either of those can accelerate, we need to ensure the right decisions are being made across all levels of the sector – from our Federal Energy Policy, individual operators and developers, and mineral management firms.

We set out to help industry leaders obtain the most accurate picture of an active oil & gas landscape by creating a high cadence imagery product – we call it Weekly Basemaps. Our weekly basemaps provide users with a current and complete view of key energy resource regions, like the Permian Basin. They allow stakeholders to detect and map new oil and gas developments in near-real-time, gain insights into key problems that are arising, and monitor production sites, roads, pipelines, and other infrastructure changes.

With our weekly basemaps, we’re taking a new approach to traditional imagery products and services. Our constellation of over 140 satellites captures medium resolution imagery of the entire Earth’s surface each day, and high resolution imagery twice daily. With up to 28 potential opportunities a week, we have the greatest chance to capture a cloud-free image of any region.

Planet Weekly Basemap of the Permian Basin from the week of November 26, 2018 © 2018, Planet Labs Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Even with daily, global coverage, clouds continue to be pesky. To get around the clouds and provide our users with the most complete and consistent visual product, we select the best pixels from our imagery to be pre-processed and packaged into seamless weekly, monthly or quarterly basemaps. Here’s a glimpse into how it looks over time in Borneo, one of the cloudiest places on Earth:

In our next post of this series, we’ll discuss how our basemap product helps us identify new roads and other activities in this bustling area. For now, if you’re interested in learning more about our basemap products please contact us at

Also, we’re headed to Houston for the NAPE Expo this week. If you’re attending and would like to meet with us, email us at