How Does This Compare to Imagery in Applications Like Google Maps?

Why are the features not as sharp in Planet data? 

At Planet, our primary objective is to provide daily global coverage through a network of small satellites. However, for PlanetScope imagery, we prioritize frequent updates over spatial resolution, resulting in lower-resolution data compared to some map providers like Google. The resolution of our PlanetScope data is approximately 3 meters per pixel, while Skysat data boasts a higher resolution at 0.5 meters per pixel. For more details on resolution, please refer to the Visual Basemaps and Surface Reflectance Basemaps pages.

How often are basemaps updated?

Planet offers an interactive basemap layer with "seasonal" imagery, allowing users to switch between basemaps created from data collected at different times, in Quarterly, Monthly, Biweekly, and Weekly cadences. Our Select Basemaps, generated based on customer-specified areas of interest, consist of PlanetScope imagery (visual or surface reflectance). We strive to publish all standard select basemaps within 7 days after the end of the acquisition period, although certain circumstances may lead to longer publishing times. Custom basemap publishing times are determined case by case.

Why do I see areas where there are no basemap images?

Basemaps may have coverage gaps due to Planet's limitations in acquiring quality imagery within a specific period, cloud cover, or other factors. While we aim for full coverage, we cannot guarantee it in all cases. Unlike some basemap providers who manually update specific areas over time, our systematic approach may result in difficulty determining the age of a specific pixel. Notably, some images on Google Maps could be several years old.

Why are things not showing up towards the North or South Pole?

High-latitude regions pose unique challenges for quality imaging due to orbital constraints and solar orientation relative to the Earth's surface during image capture. The decline in image quality becomes pronounced as we approach the poles, prompting Planet to cease imaging in areas with low sun elevation. Despite these challenges, we make every effort to incorporate usable data whenever possible to provide a comprehensive and accurate representation of the Earth's surface.

Why do some basemaps views include faint lines?

Seam lines may appear where scenes come from captures on different dates. While our tonal balancing techniques aim to minimize these lines, complete removal is not always possible.

Why do some bodies of water appear poorly?

Our automated techniques are optimized for landmass coverage; therefore, basemaps over open water, such as oceans extending from shorelines, may exhibit inconsistencies in visual quality.

How are the basemaps assessed for quality?

Please refer to the processing of Visual basemap and Surface Reflectance basemap. Basemap quality and coverage are influenced by both production techniques and source imagery input constraints based on the specified time of interest and delivery cadence. For smaller time frames and shorter cadence periods, basemap quality and coverage may be more impacted.

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