Planet RapidEye image of Feijó, Acre, Brazil. July 23, 2017 © 2017, Planet Labs Inc. All Rights Reserved
Tara O’Shea is the Director of Forest Programs at Planet.

Planet Partners with 2nd Annual Women in Data Science Datathon, Building Awareness and Solutions in Deforestation


In partnership with Women in Data Science (WiDS), the West Big Data Innovation Hub, and Figure Eight, Planet is bringing its unique dataset to a competition that challenges participants to use data science to build awareness and solutions for tropical deforestation and palm oil production.

The competition, launching today on Kaggle, comes in advance of the 2019 Global Women in Data Science Conference, held on March 4, 2019 at Stanford University in California. Leveraging Planet’s global 3-meter satellite imagery, participants will compete to develop machine learning models that can detect and classify land use conversion to palm oil production. Winners will be announced at the conference on March 4, 2019.

Women in Data Science Conference at Stanford (left); Deforestation from palm oil plantation development in Indonesia (right)

Palm oil, a vegetable oil commonly used in processed foods, cosmetics, and biofuels, has become one of the modern world’s most important and valuable agricultural commodities. Demand for palm oil has driven tropical deforestation at an alarming rate, as forests are cleared to convert the land into palm oil plantations.

85% of palm oil today is sourced from Indonesia and Malaysia, but production is now spreading to – and driving deforestation in – other tropical countries as well. Despite commitments under the 2012 New York Declaration on Forests, global commodities corporations still struggle to remove deforestation from their palm oil supply chains – a challenge that now has investors pushing for food companies to increase measurement and mitigation.

Data science – especially when combined with improved satellite imagery – has the potential to drive new solutions in decoupling deforestation from palm oil production. The WiDS Datathon aims to inspire women worldwide to learn more about and participate in data science. Planet is thrilled to be part of the team hosting this competition and bringing new solutions to life.

To learn more about this competition, please visit

And, visit us here to discover more on Planet’s solutions in Forests & Land Use.