Recently, I was able to successfully integrate Planet Labs satellite data into Collect Earth, thanks to a highly instructive Open Foris thread. I created my Planet API key, which allows me to access their imagery for 2 weeks free-of-charge. I am using it to assess forest and cropland dynamics in Southeast Asia.

I have several issues and suggestions.

Firstly, the Planet imagery in Collect Earth seems to be at a moderate to low spatial resolution. Despite the availability of sub-weekly imagery when and where it is available (which is extremely useful for tracking the exact dates of forest/cropland change), I found these images to be very blur, i.e. I am only able to confidently assess that the land cover type changed from forest to non-forest. I faced difficulty in trying to even identify the post-forest loss land cover type, e.g. is it cropland, or a home garden landscape?

Has anyone else faced this issue? I was under the impression that we would be able to access the Very High Resolution (VHR) Planet lab imagery; Skysat, PlanetScope and RapidEye which have spatial resolution of 50 cm, 3.7 m and 5 m respectively. Instead, the public-use imagery in Google Earth (e.g. Maxar Technologies, Landsat/Copernicus) are at a much higher spatial resolution. I wonder if this is a result of using the 2-week Planet Labs free trial, and access to top-grade, hi-res imagery is only given to those who pay for the data.

Secondly, I think the integration of Planet Labs imagery into Collect Earth is an extremely wonderful feature, that has been done very well by the Open Foris team. I would like to make a feature request; would it be possible to allow for the time-slider to only slide on dates where Planet imagery is available? I am suggesting this because as I scroll through the whole stretch of Planet imagery (2009 - present), I often stop at a date range where I am informed by a pop-up box that there is no imagery available. So, I move the slider (maximum date range on the slider bar) to-and-fro, until I can finally find a date-range where there is available imagery. Eventually, I spend a lot of time going through 'blank' dates where there is no imagery (which as I highlighted earlier, is of poor spatial resolution).

asked 04 Sep, 11:17

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EarthOrbGIS
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Great to hear that you managed to integrate the Planet imagery and that it is working to do it when getting the 2-weeks free tier.

The question about the quality is noted, and there is not much we can do about it. The current integration with Planet is allowing only the access to the 3 and 4 bands Planet Scope images (3m pixels) through a web service offered by Planet for which we can pass filters ( the start and end date, the area of interest and the quality flag for imagery after 2014) and that returns a mosaic. You can see the code here : GitHub code

I think that using the free 2-weeks access you can only use this imagery, correct me if I am wrong. You can check in the Planet Explorer

The time slider request is dully noted and we have been already looking into it, we are having problems with the performance (searching all available imagery for an AOI is a bit slow) but as soon as we fix that it will be included in the interface.

I feel that the Planet imagery would be much more useful if we could use false-color mosaics (using the infrared band for visualization) but apparently this is not possible yet through their web-service, so you need to download the image manually and change the color composite which totally makes this approach very time consuming. We will push for such a service so that we can use it in Collect Earth too!

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answered 04 Sep, 11:44

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collectearth ♦
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question asked: 04 Sep, 11:17

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last updated: 04 Sep, 11:44