Discover Planet Imagery in QGIS

last updated: March 18, 2024


Planet QGIS Plugin users can search, stream, and download Planet imagery in the Planet Imagery Search Panel in QGIS. Access the panel by selecting the magnifying glass icon from the Planet QGIS Plugin Toolbar.

The Imagery Search Panel includes images acquired by Planet’s SkySat, PlanetScope, and RapidEye constellations. It also includes open imagery archives, such as images acquired from LandSat and Sentinel satellites.

Search for imagery

To search for imagery, the only required field is an area of interest (AOI) or, alternatively, a specific Image ID. On the Planet Imagery Search Panel, there are multiple options for selecting an AOI. For example, you can select the current map extent or the extent of all active layers in your QGIS map, draw a specific area of interest, or use a selected feature to define a polygon AOI.

Once an AOI has been set, you can directly search for Planet imagery within QGIS. To further refine your search results, select the “Filter Results” tab to the left of the “Search” button on the Search Panel.

Filter Results is a new panel just for refining your imagery search filters. For example, you can specify a min/max cloud cover threshold, spectral bands, a time of interest, or a specific satellite instrument.


Once you are happy with your filters, simply press “<- Back” from the top-left and then “Search” from the Imagery Search Panel. Doing so returns a list of images that match your search criteria.


Version 2.2 image search updates


In version 2.2 of the Planet QGIS Plugin, you won’t see PSScene3Band or PSScene4Band imagery types anymore in the Imagery Search Panel filters. Instead, you’ll be able to search for 3-, 4-, and 8-band PlanetScope imagery using PlanetScope Scene, and applying spectral band filters.

Search by bands

In the new image search panel, you can search for PlanetScope imagery by selecting “PlanetScope Scene.”

To filter your results to see images that have at least four spectral bands (visual plus NIR), select the “Near-infrared (NIR)” check-box under the “PlanetScope Only Filters.” Applying this filter returns images that have at least visible and near-infrared bands, but may also have coastal blue, green II, yellow and red-edge bands.

To filter your results to images that have all eight bands, select the “Coastal blue, green II, yellow, red edge.” Once applied, only 8-band PlanetScope images are returned.


You cannot select “Coastal blue, green II, etc” without also selecting “Near-infrared (NIR),” because NIR data is included in 8-band images.


Search by other filters

You can further refine your search using the “Instrument Filters” to see PlanetScope images specific to PlanetScope satellite sensors, such as Dove Classic, Dove R, and Super Dove.

Earliest Dove Classic (PS2) imagery available on July, 2014 to April 29, 2022. Earliest Dove R (PS2.SD) imagery available is on March, 2019 to April 22, 2022. Earliest Super Dove (PSB.SD) imagery available is mid-March, 2020 to current monitoring.

Under “Advanced Filters,” you’ll find additional filtering options such as “Include only surface reflectance” that, once applied, only return PlanetScope (or SkySat) images that have a surface reflectance asset.

Planet QGIS Plugin users can save their search by selecting the save icon above the search results. Saving a search preserves search filters and the search AOI. This may be helpful and save time if you find that you're repeating the same search.

Give your search a name and specify if you’d like to remove the start or end date. Removing the end date ensures your saved search applies to new imagery as it becomes available. Removing the start date will provide access to everything your account has access to up until the set end date.

Save searches are portable across the Planet Platform. Saving a search in QGIS allows you to access that same saved search in Planet Explorer and Planet APIs, and vice versa.

Updating saved searches to PlanetScope Scene

For saved searches created using legacy item types, such as PSSscene4Band and PSScene3Band, you are prompted to update to the new PlanetScope scene item type. If your saved search was created for 4-band images, updating to PlanetScope scene applies the “Near-infrared (NIR)” filter. Updating is optional but to get the benefits of the new PlanetScope scene bands and radiometric improvements, it’s encouraged!


Inspect search results

Imagery search results are grouped by date and product type. You can explore your search results even further by selecting the drop-down arrows to the left of each result. The drop-down list shows each individual image included in that date and product result group.

Pro Tip

By selecting the settings gear icon above the search results, you can adjust the default metadata fields displayed for each individual image. These settings allow you to inspect each result in greater detail and display the metadata most important to your curation.


Stream preview imagery

Planet QGIS Plugin users can place preview images and multiple results into the QGIS map.

To stream preview images into your QGIS map: select the “Add preview layer to map” icon to the right of each search result. We refer to these image tiles as “previews,” because they are “browse” quality tile layers, are not full-resolution or full-bit depth, and don’t contain any multispectral information.

To stream multiple results into your QGIS map as preview layers: select each result, then click the “Add all preview layers to the map” icon above the search results.


Download imagery

Planet QGIS Plugin users can download Planet imagery directly within their QGIS workflows. Ordering and downloading imagery provide access to full bit-depth, multispectral GeoTIFF(s) for your selected imagery scenes.


The order checkout process is new to the Add-In with V2.1.

To access the Imagery Order window in QGIS:

  1. Select the images you’d like to download from the Image Search panel using the check-boxes left of each image.
  2. Select “Order” from the bottom-right of the Imagery Search Panel.

The Order Imagery window opens and walks you through three steps to download your images:

Step 1. Name your Order. Give your order a name. If the default asset selection on the right is what you’d like to order, click Order to skip steps 2 and 3.

Step 2. Select Assets. Select from a list of “rectified assets,” or expand the “Show More” drop-down list to select “unrectified” assets.

Step 3. Tools and Review. Review your order by screening the selected thumbnails, and optionally select to “clip” your images to your AOI(s).


As of V2.1, the Clip feature in the Planet QGIS Plugin supports arbitrary polygons as well as multipolygons, so long as the vertices count is less than 500. Clipping is not supported on unrectified assets.


Once an order has been placed, you can monitor your order and download it (once available for download) from the Order Status Panel. The Order Status Panel will include orders for imagery scenes and Basemap quads. Once an imagery scene is available for download, a “Download” button will be available for the Order. If you’ve already downloaded an order before, there is an option to “Re-Download”. You can also select “Open order folder,” which opens the file location you originally downloaded the imagery to.

The Order Status Panel in 2.1+ also includes metadata about your order, including the Order ID, which links out to the Planet's Order Status page. The Order Status page provides more details about your order status and any issues.


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