Downloading many images/large AOIs using the Dashboard vs Data API

Hi, I'm new to working with satellite imagery so I would appreciate any help with my inquiries!

When I download images (following the tutorial on the planet github) using the data api I get one zip file containing a .geotiff file that is rather cloudy (I'm assuming) even though I specified the image only have < 25% cloud coverage(see image). 1) Any assumptions for why this happened? Also, any idea how to avoid this amount of cloud cover?

On the other hand, when I place an order through the website dashboard GUI, the zip file has multiple directories (a part of my order receipt is attached as a jpg) containing manifest.json, multiple inner directors with metadata.jsons, geotiffs and xmls. 

2) Any resources or explanations on what these files do/how they relate to each other (the metadata.jsons, xmls, geotiffs etc)? Am I still able to use these images with only the geotiffs?
Most importantly - 3) Why did the Data API only have one file in the .zip, while the website dashboard .zip had so many? I need to download many images/use a large AOI, so querying the Data API seems to be a more suitable method but I'm confused as to the download differences between the two methods.

If you could answer any of my questions, or point me in the direction of any resources explaining any of these topics, I would greatly appreciate it!

Thank you so much!



  • Hello Michelle,


    I had created a ticket for this and i will reach out to you directly.

  • Hi Michelle and Aditya,

    Was this ever resolved. I have the same issue of only receiving a zip file containing the first image in my order when downloading from the orders tab in Planet Explorer.




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