In Updated Strategy, Planet Labs Aims to Build Earth Data Platform

Planet outlines its updated strategy, aiming to become a company that doesn’t just operate earth-observation satellites and provides remote-sensing data. Planet wants to be a company that also runs an earth-data platform allowing users to gather insights from Planet’s data.

The most interesting part of the marketing material is that it’s one of the rare cases that (sort of, in a sugar-coded way) admits that their product isn’t just used to save the environment or ensure every human can eat. Geospatial products are often used to achieve questionable goals, including fighting wars:

There are also security threats, very present as we write this during the war in Ukraine, for which the transparency created by daily broad coverage imagery can help illuminate events in a factual, unbiased and democratized way, reducing likelihood of miscalculation and escalation, and providing a common operating picture for society.

Working in geospatial, we all want to use our skills to create tools or to produce data that ultimately contribute to a better life on earth. But the companies we work for still have to make money, and the clients with the deepest pockets usually aren’t the ones that primarily care about world peace and ensuring every human on earth is well off — a conundrum Tom MacWright captured previously in Ethics in Geo.