Articles in “Products”

How Big Data Makes Renewable Energy More Competitive

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Two weeks ago we attended the Renewables UK Marketplace and I presented the Planet OS story by participating in a session about big data. I was joined by several other leaders from the renewable energy big data market. Paul Usher started off the session and made it clear that renewable energy companies could gain significant competitive advantage through advanced analytics and big data.

However, this business advantage doesn’t come easy because big data analytics are hard to implement, and the most time consuming part is simply preparing the data for analysis. Most big data teams spend 40-60% of their time preparing data or ‘data wrangling’ as it’s called by many. The problem is even worse with geospatial data which has many diverse formats including time series, raster, and vector data. Luckily, there are new emerging technologies like Kinetica and Datahub that help companies reduce the time they spend wrangling geospatial data. The time saved can be spent instead on developing advanced analytical models that deliver competitive advantage to the business.

I observed many parallel themes between this event and the Wind Europe Summit. The wind energy industry is clearly maturing, although in different ways between onshore and offshore. Innovation is a major goal across the entire supply chain as companies rush to increase revenues and drive costs down. New technologies like floating turbines and energy storage could have an enormous impact on the future of renewable energy. Meanwhile the industry is tirelessly optimizing the performance of both operations and assets to reduce costs and be more competitive with traditional energy sources like coal and gas. Advanced analytics is a critical tool for renewable energy companies to achieve this competitive advantage.

NASA Climate Data Webinar Resources

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On September 21, we hosted our very first Product Webinar with Dr. Sangram Ganguly (NASA Ames & BAERI) and myself, where we discussed How to Easily Analyze NASA Climate Models using the Planet OS OpenNEX Data Tool. I would now like to share some of the resources and materials we used during our session so that you could try them out yourself.

Please let me know at if you have questions or comments.

See you at the next #PlanetosWebinar!

OpenNEX Climate Data Access Tool


I’m excited to share that today we released our OpenNEX Climate Data Access Tool to help improve access to NASA Earth Exchange (NEX) downscaled climate projections.

Climate information is important not only to highly technical scientists, researchers, and numerical modellers, but also to non-technical local community members and decision makers who are responsible for developing response plans. These downscaled and bias-corrected climate data products provide a better representation of regional climate patterns and are used to determine specific impacts to numerous real-world applications such as crop productivity, flood risk, energy demand, and human health.

However due to their immense size, archive structure and file format, acquiring and incorporating downscaled climate projection data into regional analyses can require significant technical knowledge. The OpenNEX Climate Data Access Tool was designed to remove these technical barriers and allow quick, easy access to these valuable climate data by both scientists and policy planners.

“As climate change is increasingly affecting our everyday life, we are seeing communities requesting easier ways to ingest climate data, both historical and projections, to their work,” says Dr. Sangram Ganguly, Senior Research Scientist at Bay Area Environmental Research Institute and NASA Ames Research Center. “We are excited to collaborate with Planet OS to help communities with the complexities of analyzing space-time bound climate projections datasets. Planet OS’s approach provides a scalable easy-to-use data discovery and integration framework for these big datasets without having to spend days to obtain the data and perform analytics on top of it.”

The OpenNEX Project

In late 2013 NASA Earth Exchange, in partnership with Amazon Web Services (AWS), published a number of earth science datasets within the AWS S3 infrastructure. The goal of the OpenNEX project was to make the data accessible to a wider audience of full-time researchers, students, and citizen scientists.


Among the datasets published to S3 were two downscaled climate projections: NASA Earth Exchange Downscaled Climate Projections (NEX-DCP30) and NASA Earth Exchange Global Daily Downscaled Projections (NEX-GDDP). These datasets provide a set of bias-corrected climate change projections and include maximum temperature, minimum temperature, and precipitation for the periods from 1950 through 2005 (Retrospective Run) and from 2006 to 2099 (Prospective Run).

To complement the data, a number of resources were created to assist users in accessing OpenNEX data, including Amazon Machine Images, tutorials, and software development kits. These tools are quite useful for tech savvy users, but can be confusing for those with limited technical knowledge.

Planet OS Announces Powerboard to Improve Wind Farm Performance


Planet OS, the world’s leading provider of online geospatial environmental data, today announced Powerboard, a data intelligence solution that helps wind farm operators and renewable energy service providers to boost power output by up to 30%. Powerboard provides wind farm operators with a rich, easy-to-use data visualization experience that allows them to significantly streamline daily operations and maintenance, leading to increased profitability and safety.

The solution combines real-time operational and industrial data with a growing programmatic catalog of open and commercial data from external data providers into a single cloud-based solution. The result is a visually rich, interactive analysis tool that permits detailed optimization of a wind farm that replaces rooms full of distracting monitors that are not integrated at a software level. Furthermore, Powerboard allows stakeholders from operators, technicians to managers regardless of location to collaborate in planning and operating a wind farm to great effect.

German energy giant RWE has joined forces with Planet OS as the launch partner for Powerboard. RWE International SE, one of the world’s large offshore wind farm operators, plans to use Powerboard on a number of wind farms in their portfolio. “Powerboard provides us with the potential for optimizing operations and increasing renewable energy production from our wind farms,” said Peter Terium, the CEO at RWE Group. “We are currently using Powerboard at Gwynt y Môr, our largest offshore wind farm, to help increase our power output and improve operational efficiency. As we deploy Powerboard to other renewable energy sites, we hope to further improve our competitive position.”


Powerboard is built on the cloud-based Planet OS data infrastructure, which can process all major geospatial and Earth Observation data types and formats, in addition to supporting conventional industrial sensor data.  Planet OS is also on a mission to deliver relevant external data by syndicating the world’s largest programmatic database of geospatial environmental data so clients can access a growing catalog of over 800 parameters via one consistent API. The company is a member of the NOAA Big Data Project and the White House Open Data Roundtable to make open data more accessible for everyone.

“Uniting the right tools and relevant content together significantly reduces the effort needed by renewable energy companies to compete with coal, and natural gas” said Rainer Sternfeld, the CEO at Planet OS. “Customers like RWE can leverage Powerboard to have a truly distributed, responsive and aggregated view of all operations on a single screen. Using our products allows renewable energy providers to see deep patterns and monitor performance in a way that allows them to better optimize operations, schedule maintenance and feed timely data to energy traders to perform without delay.”

Planet OS Powerboard is available now to customers around the world, starting with a proof-of-concept and value analysis to validate the implementation for both parties before engaging in a multi-year contractual relationship based on benefits gain-share. Learn more about Planet OS Powerboard, and/or contact to schedule a demo.

Six New Datasets, Developer Tools, and Our Own Slack Community

More datasets. Developer Tools. Slack Community

Planet OS has published six new public datasets to our open data catalog, including data from Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology, Pacific Islands Ocean Observing System (PacIOOS), Copernicus Marine Environment Monitoring Service (CMEMS) and NOAA.

The Planet OS API provides access to high-quality datasets from some of the world’s leading environmental data providers. As of today, Planet OS API users can now access the following datasets:

In addition to these datasets, we’ve released a new interactive console that provides detailed documentation about Planet OS API endpoints, parameters, and response structure. This console is a convenient tool for exploring the API, allowing you to quickly construct and send queries directly from your browser.

We’ve also updated our documentation and published a number of Javascript and Python examples that use the Planet OS API. There’s a new GitHub repository that contains a variety of Jupyter notebooks, as well as a javascript demo that allows you to select a point on a map and receive data values from the GFS forecast.

Planet OS Community on Slack

Finally, we’ve started a brand new Planet OS Slack community! Join us as we discuss datasets, feature requests, and future development plans. Request an invitation to become a member. Hope to see you there.

Chris Kalima
Director of Product Development

An API for the World’s Weather & Climate Data

One API. A World of Data.

Planet OS is excited to announce the launch of our first API designed specifically for geospatial and Earth observation data. The Planet OS API provides developers, researchers, and climate specialists with a new tool for working with Earth data from the world’s most respected providers. Using the Planet OS API, it is now possible to build scalable applications and data-driven solutions without developing custom interfaces for each individual dataset.

Weather and climate data is traditionally difficult to work with at scale. Data are typically buried in undocumented repositories that are hard to navigate, published in obscure scientific formats, and are often so large that downloading them can take hours. The Planet OS API allows users to access only the data they actually need, without having to download the entire dataset.

Global Forecast System (GFS)

Starting today API users can freely access three global forecast modelsNOAA WaveWatch III, NCEP Global Forecast System (GFS), and HYCOM Global Ocean Forecast. Through a mixture of automated discovery, user recommendation, and manual curation, we will continuously expand and update our catalog of available datasets. This includes not only open datasets, but commercial data as well. Planet OS is currently working with a select group of data vendors, including CustomWeather, The Climate Source, TCarta Marine, Weather Decision Technologies, and Freese-Notis Weather to bring their products to our platform.

Offshore Operator Bravante Delivers Data 80% Faster With Planet OS

Bravante's research vessel R/V Jean Charcot

Bravante’s research vessel R/V Jean Charcot

Planet OS is changing the way offshore operations are conducted in Brazil. Through a contract with the Brazilian offshore operator, Bravante, Planet OS has delivered an interactive, cloud-based reporting tool that helps Chevron, BP, Total, Quieroz Valdez and Premier Oil review local metocean conditions and environmental baseline survey data in near real-time. This solution is currently deployed and operational on an ongoing survey campaign off the coast of northern Brazil.

Marinexplore Data Browser – The Fastest Way to Find Ocean Data

Introducing the Marinexplore Data Browser – a well-organized directory containing every institution, project, platform and data stream available on It’s the biggest update to our platform since its launch in July 2012.

Constantly wasting time on search instead of research? Tired of poorly organized data repositories with cryptic FTP directories? Discovering and accessing publicly available ocean data is a messy, time-consuming task. Thousands of highly trained professionals spend a significant amount of their time searching, accessing and preparing data for analysis, instead of analyzing data.