Getting Started with Planet APIs

last updated: September 09, 2021

API Access

To use any Planet API, you'll need an API key. API keys are available to all registered users with active Planet accounts.

Find your API Key

Once you're signed up, log in to your account at to get your API key. Find the API key field under your account information, as seen here:

Account Profile page: click "API key" to copy your API key to the clipboard

Planet's API Ecosystem

Planet's platform is made up of a collection of APIs. These include:

  • Data API - allows you to search Planet's complete catalog of data
  • Analytics API - give you access to derived analytic products like Planet Analytic Feeds
  • Tile Services - XYZ and WMTS tile map services for use in your favorite GIS or mapping client
  • Orders API - raster tools for creating analysis-ready data with Planet's imagery archive
  • Tasking API - API for creating and managing your SkySat point collection orders

You can read more about each API and find complete docs and API reference guides here.

Quickstart: Search & Download Imagery

If you're new to Planet's APIs and just want to search for and download an image, then start with the Data API.

A Python-based Jupyter Notebook is available here if you'd like to interactively try out searching & downloading with the Data API (recommended).

Otherwise, if you prefer to do it from scratch, keep reading for a step-by-step walk through of the entire process.

Related: "Searching for Imagery with Data API" on Planet School

Searching for imagery in an Area of Interest while specifying our desired Item and Asset types

  1. Define an Area of Interest (AOI) and save it as a GeoJSON file
  2. Create search filters to specify the type of data you want to see
  3. Use the Data API to conduct a 'quick search' of the Planet catalog
  4. Extract the item ID of the image you would like to download from the quick search response body
  5. Use that Item ID to list available assets for this item (more details on Items & Assets can be found in the docs)

Activating & downloading the image

Related: "Downloading Imagery withData API" on Planet School

The Data API does not pre-generate assets, so they are not always immediately availiable to download. In order to download an asset, we first have to activate it. Once an asset has been activated, a temporary download link will become available.

  1. Call the "activate" link for your desired asset to begin the activation process
  2. Poll the "_self" link for the asset to check the status value: an asset will change from inactive to active when it's ready for download.
  3. The payload of the "_self" link you used above will now include a location value: make a GET request against that URL to begin downloading the image

Data API Alternatives

  1. Want a simpler download process with more delivery options? How about applying raster processing to your data. Meet Orders.
  2. Want continuous cloud delivery with a single API Call? Meet Subscriptions.

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