Time travel at your fingertips

Planet Explorer
United States (San Francisco)

Rivers move. Fires occur. Cities grow. Forests shrink. Icecaps melt. Ecosystems change. That’s why Robbie Schingler founded Planet, with the mission to make global change visible, accessible and actionable. Five years ago, he began building satellites in a garage. Today he runs the largest constellation of Earth-imaging satellites in the world.

With their Planet Explorer Beta anyone can navigate through space and time to see the Earth change by navigating backwards and forwards using the timeline bar with your mouse or arrow keys.

“We wanted to activate the pulse of the planet, actually allow for global change to be visible so you could see it in context,” he explains. “It’s really about what you do with that information, that’s when the impact comes. That’s when you can actually allow for people to make better decisions.”

It’s early days for the company, but Planet’s data is already being used for a diverse range of applications, from measuring agricultural yields to coordinating disaster relief and monitoring natural resources. Collecting untold amounts of data could transform the way we understand, and ultimately manage, our planet.

“The moon is in sight, Mars is in sight. It’s a very exciting time to think about how to reprogram society in order to bring the best of us forward as we actually go into the cosmos.”

► We chat to Schingler about the impact of 50 trillion pixel portraits and rocketing social responsibility.

Video produced by Atlas of the Future for Project Breakthrough (United Nations Global Compact/ Volans). Check out our other Breakthrough videos here.

Written by

Lisa Goldapple, Editor, Atlas of the Future (26 April 2017)

Project leader

Robbie Schingler, Founder, Planet

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