Discover Planet Basemaps in ArcGIS

last updated: May 23, 2024


Planet’s Basemaps are composed of Planet’s “best” PlanetScope or SkySat images over a specific time of interest to provide a near-cloud-free look at an area of interest.

To learn more about the imagery specifications of Planet Basemap products, please see our Basemaps Product Spec

Search for Basemaps

Basemaps in the Planet ArcGIS Add-In are organized into three categories: One off, Series & All.

The One off filter catalogs Basemaps that don’t belong to a time-series, i.e., they were purchased and produced for a single AOI/TOI. The Series filter catalogs Basemaps that belong to a time-series. Planet produces time-series Basemaps for many intervals, the most common are “monthly” and “weekly” Basemaps. The All filter is a catch-all for One Off and Series Basemaps. The All filter also has a text filter that allows you to filter Basemaps using keywords (e.g., “PS Tropical”).

Additionally, all Basemaps can be filtered by “Surface Reflectance only,” which if applied, will limit results only to basemaps that have been atmospherically corrected for surface reflectance values and includes near infrared spectral information. Learn more about SR correction on PlanetScope data here.

Stream Planet Basemaps

Planet ArcGIS Add-In users can stream Basemaps into ArcGIS as a single Basemap or as part of a time-series.

To stream a Basemap as a time-series, select each Basemap instance from the Basemaps search results panel, then select “Explore Selected”.

This will create a single “layer” in your ArcGIS Pro table of contents with the name of your Basemap series and the selected time interval. Selecting the Basemap layer in your table of contents will open a new ribbon that is only accessible when working with Planet Basemaps, called Planet Basemap Tools. The Planet Basemap Tools ribbon has controls that enable you to adjust visualization parameters and animate through the time intervals for your Planet Basemaps.

If the Basemap you are streaming is a surface reflectance Basemap, you will have processing options to stream the Basemap in false color like color infrared or as a spectral index visualization like ndvi, and have a few select color ramp options that can be applied to each processing option.


Identify Basemap Source Scene

Some Planet Basemap users may want to be able to identify the contributing source scene for a specific location in a Planet Basemap so that they can view metadata about the pixels such as their specific collection date.

The Planet Inspector panel in the Planet ArcGIS Add-In allows users to do just that: select a location in a Planet Basemap and identify the source scene for that location.

To use the Planet Inspector tool, first open the Planet Basemap that you’d like to inspect and make sure you have the Basemap selected in your ArcGIS Pro table of contents. If you have a Basemap Series added to your ArcGIS Pro Map, make sure that the series is on the specific temporal instance that you’d like to inspect using the Planet Basemap Tools ribbon. Then zoom to the area that you’d like to “inspect”.

Next select the Planet Inspector icon from the Planet Imagery ribbon, and click the pencil icon on the panel that appears. This will enable your cursor for inspection. Simply click a location on the selected Basemap that you’d like to inspect.


The tool will return the Planet imagery scene that contributed to that specific location in the Basemap. By default you should be able to view the specific date and UTC time that the image was collected. If your account has permissions to access that source image, you can select the gear icon next to the image in the Planet Inspector panel and click "Query sceneID". This will open the image into the Planet Search Panel where you can further explore its metadata, stream the preview layer or download the image.

Download Basemaps

Planet Basemaps are distributed as a grid of GeoTIFF files which are called “Basemap quads” or simply “quads”.

If your Planet Basemaps subscription includes download quota, you will be able to use the Planet ArcGIS Add-In to download a subset of or your entire Basemap’s quads.

To download a Basemap, first select the Basemap instance or instances (you can select more than one Basemap of the same time series) you’d like to download from the Basemaps Panel search results, then select “Order” from the bottom-right of the panel.

The Order Basemap Panel presents user’s with three options: * Download Complete Basemap(s) * Download Specific AOI from Basemap(s) * Create streaming connection(s)

Option 1: Download Complete Basemap(s)

This should only be used for Basemaps of a size that can be managed on a single desktop computer. Generally, surface reflectance Planet Basemaps are ~120MB per visual ~35MB per quad.

If you select to download a Basemap with more than 500 quads, you will be prompted with a warning message about the size, continue if it is an acceptable download size.

Option 2. Download Specific AOI from Basemap(s)

To download a subset of your Basemap(s) based on an area of interest, select option 2. Then use the draw tools to define your area of interest. Once you AOI is set, select “Find Quads”. This will query Planet’s Basemaps API to find all the quads across the Basemap instances you selected for download.


Select the quads you’d like to download and then select “Next”. Provide a name for your download and click "Submit Order" to complete your Basemap quad order.

To open your order for download, navigate to the Orders Panel and select “download” option next to the name of your Basemap Quad order.


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