Press Releases

Planet partners with Taylor Geospatial Institute to leverage data food security, defense and intelligence

September 22, 2022

Posted by: Janmesh Chintankar

San Francisco, United States – Planet Labs PBC, a provider of daily data and insights about Earth, announced that they have entered into a multi-year contract with Saint Louis University in support of the Taylor Geospatial Institute (TGI), a geospatial research collaborative. Bringing together eight midwestern universities and research centres, TGI aims to harness innovation in geospatial science and make scientific discoveries that address global challenges. With access to Planet’s satellite data, TGI aims to enable researchers to explore critical issues surrounding global food security, core geospatial science and computation, geospatial health, and national security.

As Planet’s largest ever direct university engagement, this agreement offers the company their broadest potential university user community. Through this multi-user agreement, TGI member institutions will gain access to Planet data through the company’s eucation and research program. The members of the TGI consortium are Saint Louis University, the Donald Danforth Plant Science Centre, Harris-Stowe State University, Missouri University of Science & Technology, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, University of Missouri-Columbia, University of Missouri-St. Louis, and Washington University in St. Louis. Collectively, these institutions encompass more than 5,000 faculty and 100,000 students.

“This consortium enables the Taylor Geospatial Institute to tap into the incredibly talented and diverse user community in the St. Louis region as they seek solutions to some of the world’s greatest challenges. We look forward to seeing the countless ways these students and researchers will leverage Planet’s satellite data to help us ensure security and well-being globally,” says Robert Cardillo, Planet federal chief strategist.

“With Planet’s unique satellite capabilities and archive, the Taylor Geospatial Institute can further its goal of leading innovation and impact through cutting-edge geospatial technologies. We also see access to Planet’s data as vital for developing future leaders in geospatial science. By harnessing time-stamped satellite big data from across the planet, our students and researchers can go on to bring advanced data analytics, AI, and geospatial insights to grand societal challenges related to food, water, human insecurity, and caring for our planet,” says Vasit Sagan, Ph.D, associate professor at Saint Louis University and acting director of the Taylor Geospatial Institute.

TGI joins a recent spate of geospatial investments in the St. Louis region, including an expansive new National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) west headquarters with an investment of more than [$1.7 billion (€1.73 billion)]. That new facility is being purpose-built to include up to 40% of its operating space at the unclassified level. This will further enable students and researchers to collaborate more frequently with the NGA. It will also deepen Saint Louis University’s existing partnership with NGA, which includes collaborative research and development, geospatial training programs, and the annual geo-resolution conference. With access to PlanetScope Archive, TGI researchers can gain daily satellite imagery at 3-meter resolution of locations of security interest, such as military build-ups along borders. These researchers will also be able to leverage Planet’s SkySat high-resolution tasking satellites, allowing them to capture rapidly-changing events with 50 cm resolution, such as the immediate impacts of missile attacks or detailed imagery of foreign bases. These capabilities can further help these analysts generate vital skills for the future of the defense and intelligence workforce.

Situated in the fertile heartland of America, these institutions are also advancing agricultural research to ensure food security in the current shifting political landscape. As the world is facing uncertainty around global supply chains and food security, having advanced and timely analytics around agricultural production and distribution is becoming ever-more important. With Planet’s datasets, TGI’s partner institutions can publish research on crop yields, gain timely insights on irrigation, and help the industry create climate-smart farming practices. With Planet’s high frequency datasets and archived satellite data, researchers can evaluate change on a daily basis and compare outputs from season to season. By incorporating these datasets into models, TGI analysts could predict crop shortages early on, enabling the agricultural sector to respond appropriately to ensure food security.

This partnership marks a step forward for the geospatial community. By providing broad access to Planet’s cutting-edge satellite data capabilities, TGI is building a global centre for geospatial research excellence and ensuring their collaborative network of students and researchers have the toolkits they need for the future.

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