Curious Planeteer working to make the Earth's changes visible, accessible and actionable.

Planet Joins the NASA-RFF VALUABLES Consortium


Planet is thrilled to announce that we are now a partner with the NASA-Resources for the Future (RFF) Consortium for the Valuation of Applications Benefits Linked with Earth Science (VALUABLES). This program is a cooperative agreement between RFF, a longstanding leader in economic analysis and policy innovation for managing environmental and natural resources, and NASA to measure how satellite information benefits people and the environment when it is used to make decisions. Planet is the first commercial Earth observing data provider to join the consortium.

“We want to help Earth scientists explain why what they’re doing matters in more than just papers,” says Dr. Yusuke Kuwayama, RFF Fellow and Director of the VALUABLES Consortium. To accomplish this, VALUABLES funds researchers to conduct analyses based on the impact on decision making and outcomes for the environment and human life. The unique aspect of research funded through VALUABLES compared to other Earth science programs is that scientists must quantify—in monetary terms—the socioeconomic impacts of their work. Funded projects thus far have included water quality assessment in Bangladesh to monitor cholera outbreaks, tracking the consequences of deforestation in Brazil, and the economic impact of harmful algal blooms in Californian lakes in terms of healthcare costs for visitors sickened by such blooms.

Algal Blooms in Toledo, Ohio. © 2019, Planet Labs Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Algal Blooms in Toledo, Ohio. © 2019, Planet Labs Inc. All Rights Reserved.

VALUABLES also creates educational resources to help teach Earth science researchers how to quantify the value of their work. The hope is that through this, researchers will become more interested in the societal benefits of their work, thereby putting them in a better position to understand and advocate for Earth observation science as a whole. 

“Earth observation is a tool that can have a transformational impact on a host of global programs, but measuring the impact of this is complicated,” notes Dr. Andrew Zolli, Planet’s Vice President for Global Impact. “It requires a lot of domain-specific knowledge about how the tool is being used, a lot of data about the outcomes of its use, and consideration of the counterfactual—what might have happened if it had not been used. We at Planet are interested in figuring out how to responsibly enable a transparent world, and measure the value of that transparency ecologically, socially, economically, and geopolitically, so I’m delighted that Planet has become a member of VALUABLES, being it is highly aligned with these goals.”

Planet will be providing data access to VALUABLES-funded researchers through our agreement with the NASA Commercial SmallSat Data Acquisition (CSDA) Program.