Skip to main content

Planet Labs’ new Explorer tool lets you track globe-spanning changes

planet explorer beta planetexplorer01
Image used with permission by copyright holder
Planet Labs’ Planet Explorer detailed imagery of planet Earth now has a new layer of functionality by allowing you to travel back and forth in time. Adding a time axis to the map lets users browse the globe or various parts of it throughout 2016, using pictures taken throughout the year by Planet Labs’ network of 149 satellites.

Planet Labs recently purchased the Terra Bella satellite network from Google and now operates more satellites than any other organization in human history, making it a perfect candidate for mapping the world through satellite imagery. In terms of bringing those images to the public, though, it lags behind other ventures like Google Earth but by adding a time tool to its Planet Explorer, it’s certainly catching up.

With the new Planet Explorer beta, users can see changes across the globe month by month. They can zoom in on individual countries, states, and cities, seeing how 2016 changed them all.

Each global map is composed of more than 2 million satellite images, automatically processed and stitched together. Because the technology to put these together is still being refined, Planet Labs admits that there are some color anomalies as well as some tiling in a few of the images due to insufficient data at that point in time.

As it stands, Planet Labs’ images are accurate to around three to five meters per pixel, though that is likely to improve in the future as its satellite network expands even further with new imaging capabilities.

If you would like to have a play with the tool yourself, all you need do is head to the Planet Explorer beta page and start clicking around. You can gain access to the past year’s worth of imagery from Planet Labs, as well as its time-travel tool. If you go a step further and create an account, you can look at images from day to day, giving you much greater accuracy.

Planet Labs hopes its new imaging tool will help humanitarian efforts, as well as new commercial partnerships and help consumers around the world have a better understanding of planetary imagery and how useful it can be.

Jon Martindale
Jon Martindale is the Evergreen Coordinator for Computing, overseeing a team of writers addressing all the latest how to…
How to find archived emails in Gmail and return them to your inbox
A smartphone sitting on a wooden table, showing the Gmail app's inbox on its screen.

If you’re looking to clean up your Gmail inbox, but you don’t want to delete anything permanently, then choosing the archive option is your best bet. Whenever you archive an email, it is removed from your inbox folder while still remaining accessible. Here’s how to access any emails you have archived previously, as well as how to move such messages back to your regular inbox for fast access.

Read more
Samsung Spring Sale: Save on monitors, phones, TVs, and more
Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra in Titanium Gray with S Pen on back.

Samsung, one of the most trusted brands in the electronics industry, has rolled out monitor deals, phone deals, TV deals, and price cuts for other types of devices in the Samsung Spring Sale. While it's going to run until March 10, it's highly recommended that you finish your shopping as soon as you can because for some of the popular offers, there's a chance that their stocks run out quickly. To help you make a quick decision, we've highlighted our favorite bargains below, but feel free to look at everything that's available in the ongoing sale -- just do it fast to make sure that you don't miss out on the savings.

What to buy in the Samsung Spring Sale

Read more
Is there a Walmart Plus free trial? Get a month of free delivery
Walmart logo.

Take a moment and think about how often you shop at your local Walmart. Is it weekly? Daily? If either of those is the case, it might be time to upgrade your shopping experience. The Walmart Plus free trial is your chance to check out what the retail giant has to offer. Walmart Plus is basically Amazon Prime for Walmart. You get free shipping on most orders, early access to deals and new product drops (like PS5 restocks), the best grocery delivery, and more. If Walmart is your go-to option for the best smart home devices or the best tech products in general, you should get a membership. If you want to test out the service, you can sign up for a free trial. We have all the information you need right here.
Is there a Walmart Plus free trial?
There is a Walmart Plus free trial available, and it’s one of the best free trials we’ve seen in terms of how many great features and conveniences you’re able to access. This is really a reflection of how great the Walmart Plus service is, as the Walmart Plus free trial is essentially a 30-day experience of what it would be like to be a paid Walmart Plus subscriber. A Walmart Plus membership can help you save over $1,300 per year, so taking advantage of the 30-day free trial is a great way to get in there and see what those savings will look like. And if grocery delivery is what you're really after, an alternative you might consider is the Instacart free trial -- they have more than one program to try!

As part of a Walmart Plus free trial, you’ll get free shipping with no minimum order, so even small orders will qualify for free shipping. You’ll get fresh groceries and more with no delivery fees, and all at the same low in-store prices Walmart shoppers are used to. Walmart Plus members, and Walmart Plus free trial members, get exclusive access to special promotions and events, as well as a savings of up to 10 cents per gallon on fuel. A new addition to the perks of being a Walmart Plus member is free access to Paramount Plus, a top-notch streaming service with more than 40,000 TV episodes and movies. All of this is accessible for 30 days through a Walmart Plus free trial, and once those 30 days are up, Walmart Plus is just $8.17 per month or $98 annually.

Read more