Sometimes the world can be a much more revealing place if you take the time to see things from different angle. These incredible angled images captured by Planet Labs SkySat satellites reveal the world from 280 miles up, showing off the contours of our amazing planet.
This fantastic imagery gives the impression of 3D mapping rather than photos and some will make you look twice.
Planet does some incredible work when it comes to satellite imagery. The company operates a mass of satellites in regular orbit of the planet capturing and broadcasting photos in near real-time. This also allows for some pretty impressive time-lapse imagery like this video of the Apple Campus being constructed.
We’ve gathered 18 of the best images to show you just how impressive our planet is, even from all those miles above the surface.
Deccan Traps, India
The Deccan Traps in India are said to be one of the largest volcanic features on our planet. It is thought that these features began to form over 66 million years ago when a series of volcanic eruptions began changing the surrounding landscape. The shapes visible in this photo show the lava flows that are more than 2,000 metres thick. From this angle, the Deccan Traps look even more impressive.
Klyuchevskaya Volcano, Russia
This snap shows off the majesty of the Klyuchevskaya Volcano, the highest mountain in the Kamchatka Peninsula and the most active volcano in the local area. This volcano’s first recorded eruption dates all the way back to 1697 and it’s been active ever since.
The Klyuchevskaya Volcano regularly spews ash and gas clouds forth from its summit, often thousands of metres into the air – a real nightmare for local aviation. From orbit, this Volcano certainly holds some majesty.
Bora Bora, French Polynesia
You may know this place by name, but did you know Bora Bora is a volcanic island surrounded by barrier reef? The centre of these islands holds the remnants of an extinct volcano and is famed for its luxury resorts and bounty of coconut trees.
This satellite image captures the beauty of the islands and their surroundings and shows a new angle you’ve no doubt never seen in holiday snaps.
Zion National Park, United States
Seen from this angle, the peaks and troughs of the Zion National Park can be appreciated for their marvellous majesty. The Zion Canyon stretches onwards for 15 miles and in places cuts as deep as half a mile with the Virgin River cutting through below.
In this photo, you can see smatterings of snow on the peaks and the winding riverbed below. A small sample of the landscape which includes mountains, canyons, mesas, monoliths and more. This area of Utah is home to a wide range of plant and animal life including nearly 300 different species of bird, 75 mammals (including many, many bats) and various reptiles too.
As impressive on the ground as it is from space.
Mount Etna, Italy
Another impressive volcanic mountain range captured by Planet’s satellites. Mount Etna is the second-most active volcano on Earth and can be seen erupting regularly with occasional lava flow spilling out onto the snow-covered slopes. This activity is beneficial to the surrounding area as the fertile volcanic soils supports agricultural growth in nearby vineyards and orchards.
From orbit, the activity can be seen in all its majesty, but this snap simply shows a peaceful snow-covered mountain range in the beautiful surroundings of Sicily.
Blue Mountains, Australia
A short 30-mile trip north-west of Sydney puts you in the rugged Blue Mountain region with steep mountain cliffs, eucalyptus forests, incredible waterfalls and numerous tourist hotspots sprawling all around the National Park.
This area is also home to the famous Three Sisters rock formation – a natural occurrence created by erosion of the cliffs by wind, rain and rivers.
Gasherbrum Massif, Pakistan
This photo captures a group of three of the world’s 8,000-metre peak mountains that are situated in Pakistan. “Gasherbrum” means “beautiful mountain” and from this angle it’s easy to see why.
Salto Angel, Venezuela
From some of the tallest mountains and volcanoes in the world, to the world’s tallest waterfall, the Planet satellites capture them all. The waters from these falls drop nearly 1,000 metres and on particularly windy days the waters turn into a fine mist blowing across the area. In this aerial photo, you can see the whispy waterfall at the edge of the mountain range.
Salto Angel, also known as Angel Falls is one of the top tourist attractions of the area but also a tricky place to reach as its surrounded by deep jungle and requires a river trip to get to.
From this high up, this huge waterfall is almost tiny and insignificant.
Table Mountain, Cape Town, South Africa
Cape Town is the well-known home of Table Mountain – as well as being one of the world’s most photogenic coastal cities. This flat-topped mountain formation is one of the most prominent landmarks of the area and a tourist mecca. From the top of the mountain, you can also see wonderful panoramic views of City spread out below and the surrounding national park.
The satellite view captures the impressive landscape from a new angle and shows the wonder of nature and man-made structure combined.
São Paulo, Brazil
This striking view of São Paulo, Brazil looks almost like a 3D rendered map rather than an aerial photograph. Tall apartment blocks jut skyward, with villas and homes stretching out as far as the eye can see. This view is home to nearly 12 million people and makes up the largest city in the Americas.
Most of the land in Japan is made up of forested and mountainous regions that are unsuitable for residential living. The result is the main areas where people live – in the coastal towns and cities – have high population densities and are made up of sprawling man-made concrete jungles.
Osaka is the third largest city in Japan and home to over two and a half million people. The skyline is dominated by giant skyscrapers which appear tiny and insignificant in this photo captured from over 200 miles up. Large port facilities can be seen on the waterways and large bridges cross the rivers. It’s hard to imagine how much human activity is captured in this single photo – with millions of people going about their daily lives.
This close view of Shanghai’s Pudong district captures the flow and bends of the Yellow River as well as the Oriental Pearl Tower. This image shows how capable the Planet satellites are at snapping images of our world, even close up, despite being all those miles above the surface.
The town of Bilbao is a centre of Spanish art, culture and cuisine. It is famous for the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao which is home to great works of modern and contemporary art but is most well-known for its architectural design. Michelin-star restaurants, the world’s first transporter bridge and more make Bilbao the place to visit. From above, the estuary of the Nervión is clearly visible cutting through the middle of the town while green mountains surround the outside.
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
Riyadh is Saudi Arabia’s capital it’s also known for its small smatterings of enormous skyscrapers surrounded by much smaller sprawling developments. This city design makes for an interesting and unusual view from space. With the 302m-high Kingdom Centre building visible in the middle of the district.
Like Riyadh, Houston’s skyline is dominated by high-rise skyscrapers towering over the city buildings below. Green grass and miles of roadways make up the rest of the landscape. The careful eye though will spot the open roof of Minute Maid Park the local baseball stadium and sports attraction for the masses.
Doha is the Capital city of Qatar and includes a man-made island where extensive land reclamation has made way for increased development to hold a population close to 1.5 million. From above these islands look almost computer generated but we can assure you they are very real. This satellite image neatly captures the landscape, including the shadows cast by the impressive skyscrapers at the very edge.
Oblique view of Monte Fitz Roy
This oblique view of Monte Fitz Roy almost plays havoc with the eyes. The mountains rise strikingly over the lakes below jutting at a jaunty angle. These snowy mountains are located in Patagonia, on the border between Argentina and Chile and make up the Andes mountain range.
Nadir view of Monte Fitz Roy, Chile and Argentina
Another view of the same mountain range shows the impressive shadows cast by their sheer size and yet fails to capture the full magnificence as the side-on view.
The power here though, lies in the capabilities of the Planet satellites and the company’s abilities to capture images of our planet from a variety of angles, zoom levels and more.