Subscriptions API FAQs

What is the Subscriptions API? 

The Subscriptions API is a new data delivery API you can use to subscribe to continuous cloud delivery of new Planet imagery and metadata collections. You can read more on our Developer Center here

 

What is the benefit of using the Subscriptions API? 

Today, building a pipeline to deliver daily imagery over an area of interest requires complex orchestration – a sequence of search calls via the Data API (to search for newly acquired imagery) and ordering calls via the Orders API (to chunk out the search results and order them). 

 

With the Subscriptions API, you can do just that with a single API call. With the Subscriptions API you can supply a search filter and a cloud delivery location, and we will continuously process and deliver the data to you as soon as it’s published. 

 

This API is ideal for ordering daily imagery over stable areas of interest. 

 

Does the Subscriptions API cost anything to use? 

No, the Subscriptions API is free to use for any Planet user with imagery download quota. 

 

How does the Subscriptions API work? 

In your subscription you can include item filter criteria (like area of interest, time range, cloud cover filter) and a cloud storage location. You can also optionally supply raster processing tools to your subscription – currently only “clip” is supported. The API will then automatically deliver imagery to you when items are published which meet your filter criteria. You can read more on how the API works here

 

Can I order archive imagery with the Subscriptions API? 

No, currently the Subscriptions API only supports delivery of future imagery collections. In other words, the time of interest of your subscriptions must start in the future. We are presently investing in new functionality that will support the ability to create a subscription to deliver archive imagery (i.e. a subscription with the star time in the past) and aim to release this feature later this year. 

 

How many active Subscriptions can I have? 

By default, you’ll be able set up automated delivery of up to 1,000 items a day. To hit this limit, you can create up to 1,000 single-item subscriptions, or you could have a single subscription over a broad area of interest which matches (on average) 1,000 items a day. 

 

The Subscriptions API enforces these limits by leveraging the Data API Search Stats endpoint. When a new subscription is created, the Subscriptions API runs a Data API Search Stats call on the subscription’s source filter. The Search Stats call returns the number of items published which met the subscription’s source filter criteria over the last seven days. The Subscriptions API then averages that number and stores it as that subscription’s “expected number of items delivered daily”. 

 

A new subscription cannot be created if its expected number of items delivered daily puts the organization over its total cap.

 

If you are downloading larger amounts of data and need to be able to subscribe to more than 1,000 items per day, please reach out to support@planet.com and we can reconfigure your limits. 

 

What tools are supported in the Subscriptions API? 

Currently, only clipping is supported in the Subscriptions API. We plan to build out support for additional raster tools later this year and into 2021. 

 

Can I clip data with the Subscriptions API? 

Yes, if you have access to clipping via our Preferred or Premium Raster Tools packages, you will be able to clip data via the Subscriptions API. 

 

Can I use the Subscriptions API to automatically subscribe to my Tasking orders? 

A “Catalog” Subscription type will subscribe you to automated delivery of all the data over an area of interest which meets your filter criteria, and which you have permission to download.

 

As such: 

  • If you are a Flexible Tasking customer only, i.e. you only have permission to download the SkySat imagery you task, the Subscriptions API is a good way to set-up automated delivery for tasking orders. You can set up a Subscription over the same area of interest you plan to task within, and will automatically receive all imagery you tasked. 
  • However, if you are a SkySat Archive customer, or both a SkySat Archive and Flexible Tasking customer, the Subscriptions API may not be the right fit for you, because any imagery which meets your filter criteria and which you have permission to download will be delivered to you. This means that depending on how you configure your Subscription (i.e. if you set it up over a large area of interest), you may unintentionally receive and be charged for imagery tasked by other Planet users. If you choose to use the Subscriptions API for automated tasking order delivery, we recommend placing more controlled geographic and time of interest restrictions on your subscription to ensure you don’t receive imagery you did not intend. At this time you cannot limit a subscription to “my tasking orders only”. 

 

Can I still order Planet data from the Orders API or Data API? 

Yes, both the Orders API and Data API will continue to function as they do today.

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