I have successfully activated and downloaded thousands of Planet Labs images through the Python API.

However, many (but not all) "PSScene3Band" "analytic" images are remaining inactive for hours (at least) after I attempt to activate them.

The code I am using to manage the process of activating and downloading them is retrieving new images from the specified sites as they appear, so it seems that there is something about these specific images that is causing problems.

I am able to download them through the online Scene Explorer interface.

1 Answer 1


UPDATE: the issue described below has now been fixed and the correct list of downloadable files will be reflected in both permissions and the assets list.

The Planet Data API is a little misleading in reporting the presence of analytic assets when they don't actually exist for a particular item. However, the _permissions field does report whether you will be able to download an analytic if you try.

As an example, see https://api.planet.com/data/v1/item-types/PSScene3Band/items/20161015_204122_0c0b.

The permissions are:

[ "assets.basic_analytic_dn:download", "assets.analytic_dn:download", "assets.basic_udm:download", "assets.visual:download", "assets.analytic_dn_xml:download", "assets.basic_analytic_dn_xml:download", "assets.basic_analytic_dn_rpc:download", "assets.visual_xml:download", "assets.udm:download" ]

This correctly informs you that there is no analytic asset that can be downloaded. Likewise, although there is an analytic entry in the response to https://api.planet.com/data/v1/item-types/PSScene3Band/items/20161015_204122_0c0b/assets/, the permissions list there also indicates that you can't download it:

"analytic": { "_links": { "_self": "https://api.planet.com/data/v1/assets/eyJpIjogIjIwMTYxMDE1XzIwNDEyMl8wYzBiIiwgImMiOiAiUFNTY2VuZTNCYW5kIiwgInQiOiAiYW5hbHl0aWMiLCAiY3QiOiAiaXRlbS10eXBlIn0", "activate": "https://api.planet.com/data/v1/assets/eyJpIjogIjIwMTYxMDE1XzIwNDEyMl8wYzBiIiwgImMiOiAiUFNTY2VuZTNCYW5kIiwgInQiOiAiYW5hbHl0aWMiLCAiY3QiOiAiaXRlbS10eXBlIn0/activate", "type": "https://api.planet.com/data/v1/asset-types/analytic" }, "_permissions": [], "status": "inactive", "type": "analytic" }

For assets that can be downloaded, "_permissions" will be set to [download].

An update to the API will make this clearer, by removing the entry for analytic altogether when it is not available for download.

One other clarifying point, the analytic_dn asset in the Data API is equivalent to the analytic from API v0. The analytic asset in the Data API is a new product (specs in documentation).

  • Has this been corrected? Or is it still possible to encounter this error?
    – ImanolUr
    Apr 30, 2018 at 9:23
  • The API correctly indicates whether there is a downloadable assert or not. However, there is no guarantee that an item will have a particular asset for download.
    – bosth
    Apr 30, 2018 at 15:14

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