At Planet, we’ve been pursuing Mission 1: to image the entire Earth’s landmass every day. I couldn’t be more excited to announce that we have achieved our founding mission.
Six years ago, our team started in a garage in Cupertino. Mission 1 was the north star: we needed to build the satellites and systems, secure the launches, bring down the data to capture a daily image of the planet at high resolution, and make it easy to access for anyone. It became the heart and soul of our company and guiding light for Planeteers. Six years ago we had 7 staff. Today, Planet employs nearly 500 people in offices around the world, we have launched over 300 satellites and currently operate 200 medium and high resolution satellites. We’ve come a long way to reach this goal!
With so much focus on and passion for Mission 1, it’s easy to understand why everyone at Planet is excited about reaching this unprecedented milestone.
For Mission 1, our team was focused on building the hardware and software (and getting it into space) to deliver a data stream about our planet unlike any other. We’ve done this and are just beginning to understand the power and impact of this daily information stream.
What’s next? In 2017, Planet shifted gears to focus on building a platform that can harness and make sense of this massive amount of information, to enable users to answer their questions.
Six years ago we could not have imagined how much progress would be made in machine learning, in particular those of object recognition in the field of computer vision. This has emboldened Planet onto a path that goes way beyond its Mission 1, to what is coming next: Planet is doing object recognition on its imagery to enable users to query what is on the Earth (how many houses are there in Pakistan?) and build customized information feeds (e.g. count the number of ships in the top 10 ports vs. time).
The goal is to provide users ways to get the information they need to make smarter decisions. This powerful new platform will be able to answer your questions about the physical world. Planet imagery is uniquely suited to answering these questions because it covers everywhere on Earth, every day, and with sufficient spatial and spectral resolution to identify both large and small scale phenomenon. In short, Planet will index physical change on Earth the same way Google indexed the internet. Imagine the possibilities.
We’re incredibly proud of how far we’ve come to reach Mission 1, and incredibly excited about the future as we pursue our analytics platform.
Here’s a video we compiled to celebrate Mission 1 and show our platform trajectory: