Early this week Will Marshall, Co-Founder and CEO of Planet Labs and previously a scientist at NASA/USRA, traveled to the United Nations Headquarters in New York to represent Planet Labs at the UN Sustainable Development Summit where 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were adopted. In his speech Marshall announced that Planet Labs was making $60 million worth of its satellite imagery for select regions openly available and accessible to the global community. The imagery will be made available through a Planet Labs initiative called "Open Regions," under a creative commons license (CC BY-SA), and will be directly accessible online. According to Planet Labs’ analysis, the imagery is relevant to 15 of the UN's 17 SDGs. Some examples mentioned in Will Marshall's UN speech are:
- Monitoring deforestation - Planet Labs’ imagery makes it possible to monitor forests every day, to track illegal logging and enable proactive intervention.
- Combating climate change - Planet Lab's imagery can monitor climate change with up-to-date data on the state of the world’s ice caps and carbon stocks.
- Ending hunger and establishing food security - Planet Lab's imagery can measure the health of crops in farmers' fields around the world, and provide vital information to them to increase crop yield.
Planet Labs is unique in the satellite imagery world because it relies on many small, inexpensive satellites rather than a small number of large, expensive satellites. The constellation of Planet Labs CubeSats (Doves) returns imagery of Earth with a resolution between 3 and 5 meters. The revisit rate, or frequency with which Dove CubeSats pass over a given area, is unprecedented among existing satellite systems in orbit. Planet Labs' goal is to capture an image of the entire Earth every day.