How to search for imagery

last updated: September 22, 2022

This section overviews the Planet Explorer imagery search options. You can search for the latest imagery over your area of interest by panning and zooming to the location, uploading a GEOJSON file for your AOI, or drawing a shape on the map.

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You can search for any location or a specific area of interest (AOI) by using the search box (similar to a search engine) located at the top left of the page. Type a location in the Search Bar. The map view zooms to that location and an Area-of-Interest (AOI) and a bounding box appears in the map. After you have a bounding box drawn, the search results appear in a panel on the left side of the page.

Creating an Area of Interest (AOI) on the map

You can search for imagery by specifying an area on the map, either by drawing a geometry or uploading a GEO file. Supported file types include shapefile, GeoJSON, JSON, Keyhole Markup Language (KML), Well Known Text (WKT), GPX, DBF, SHX, PRJ, and ZIP files.

The map tools are available on the bottom right corner of the page. Hover over the Area-of-Interest (AOI) icon to view a tooltip to Draw or upload a geometry. Click the tool to view the options menu to create an AOI. The tooltip changes when you float over each icon in the group.

The following tools are available:

  • File importer uploads a geo file into Planet Explorer. Click the Upload Tool to open a file system browser window and navigate to your file. You can upload more than one file to Planet Explorer, but if multiple polygons are found, Planet Explorer automatically simplifies the shape of your geometry. Supported file types include shapefile, GeoJSON, JSON, Keyhole Markup Language (KML), Well Known Text (WKT), GPX, DBF, SHX, PRJ, and ZIP files.
  • Constrained Circular AOI draws a circle with a maximum area of 50,000 sq. km. The area varies by the latitude of the center coordinate.
  • Constrained Rectangular AOI draws a rectangle with a maximum area of 50,000 sq. km. The area varies by the latitude of the center coordinate.
  • Custom AOI draws a polygon of your choice.
  • Circular AOI draws a circle of any size.
  • Rectangular AOI draws a rectangle of any size.

Selecting on the Time Slider & using the Imagery Picker Tools

If you select a Basemap or create a search for imagery, a timeline slider bar appears at the bottom of the page. The dots in the slider indicate time intervals.

Viewing Basemaps

To access your Basemaps, click the Access your Basemaps icon from the toolbar on the left side of your screen.

The Intervals option allows you to select the following options:

  • Quarterly Basemap changes the time slider to show three-month increments of each year.
  • Monthly Basemap changes the time slider show each month of the year.
  • Weekly Basemap changes the time slider to show each week of the year. This also includes bi-weekly basemaps.
  • Daily Imagery creates a prompt to Click on the map to search for daily imagery by drawing an area of interest (AOI).

You can deselect a Basemap either by entering Command+Click for Mac or Control+Click for PC or by clicking on the Basemap name.

Note: If you do not have access to imagery, an option to purchase access is available.

Sharing your session

If you want to share your session, click the Share this Session icon on the bottom right corner of the page. Click Copy to to copy and share the link. Anyone with this link can view your entire session: your area of interest, your search filters, and your current selections.


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