Planet imagery for natural disaster response

Satellite imaging company Planet has a programme for gathering satellite imagery for natural disaster response. Read more about it on the Planet blog. Although direct and timely access to the imagery for first responders requires emailing Planet and getting special access, there is actually quite a lot of imagery publicly available on the ‘disaster data’ page. It includes a list of recent disasters and some associated imagery and in many cases the option to download sets of imagery for the affected areas.


Pamplona, Cagayan Region, Philippines. Before and after Typhoon Haima. Image credit Planet.

Planet’s imagery is medium resolution in the 3-5 metre range, higher resolution than Landsat and Sentinel-2 but lower resolution than DigitalGlobe and CNES / Astrium. For a list of satellites and resolutions see here.

DigitalGlobe has a similar programme called ‘FirstLook’ whose imagery often makes it into Google Earth and much of the imagery we look at on this blog comes from that programme.

Timothy has been using Google Earth since 2004 when it was still called Keyhole before it was renamed Google Earth in 2005 and has been a huge fan ever since. He is a programmer working for Red Wing Aerobatx and lives in Cape Town, South Africa.

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