Planet API

A "planet" represents a single globe and its rendering instructions. It is created from the planetaryjs.planet method; see the Core API documentation for more details.


Planetary.js uses a plugin architecture for all its functionality. While you can load plugins at the global library level, Planetary.js also allows you to load plugins for specific planets. If a planet is drawn and no plugins have been loaded globally and no plugins have been loaded for the specific planet instance, it will use the default earth and pings plugins.


For more information on the plugin system and API, please see the Plugins documentation.


The core of a planet's data model is an d3.geo.projection (specifically, an orthographic projection), which is exposed by a planet by planet.projection. You can use this object to control various aspects of the planet. The D3 documentation covers the methods in considerable detail, so be sure to check it out; many of the examples on this site also use the projection object to operate.

  .scale(width / 2)
  .translate([width / 2, height / 2])
  .rotate([60, -10, 0]);


planet.path is a d3.geo.path which uses the planet's internal projection to generate path data for geographical features. Its context method is commonly used by internal plugins to take a canvas context and return a path generator that can be used to draw on the globe.



Planetary.js provides an empty object that plugins may use to store public data and methods. If a plugin is well-behaved, it will keep all its properties on the object under a single key (usually one that share's the plugin's name).

planet.canvas and planet.context

Once you call draw on a planet instance, Planetary.js will set the canvas and context properties to the canvas and its context, respectively.

planet.onInit( function([done]){} )

Registers a function to be called when the planet is initialized (which happens after a call to draw and after any registered plugins have been loaded). This is mostly used by plugins to initialize themselves when the planet "boots."

If the provided callback function takes any parameters, it will be a "done" function that must be called once the initialization function finishes any asynchronous work before the planet will continue to initialize.

planet.onInit(function() {

planet.onInit(function(done) {
  doSomeAsynchronousSetupStuff(function() {

planet.onDraw( function(){} )

Registers a function to be called each time the globe redraws itself. This is mostly used by plugins to draw plugin-specific data or otherwise animate the globe.

planet.onDraw(function() {
  var rotation = planet.projection.rotate();
  rotation[0] += 1;
  if (rotation[0] >= 180) rotation[0] -= 360;

planet.onStop( function(){} )

Registers a function to be called when the planet is stopped with the stop method. This can be used to clean up timers and remove references to internal planet properties and plugins, if necessary, so that it can be property garbage collected.

var interval = setInterval(function() {
  addRandomPing(planet); // uses `planet.plugins.pings`
}, 150);

planet.onStop(function() {

planet.withSavedContext( function(context){} )

Calls the function with the current canvas context as a parameter, wrapping the function call in and context.restore(). Use this function any time you're going to modify the context to ensure it gets put back to the way it was.

planet.onDraw(function() {
  planet.withSavedContext(function(context) {
    planet.path.context(context)({type: 'Sphere'});
    context.fillStyle = 'black';


Begins drawing the globe onto the given canvas. canvas should be a raw DOM element (e.g. as returned by document.getElementById). Specifically, if it is wrapped by D3 or jQuery, you need to unwrap it with something like wrappedCanvas[0].

Calling draw will perform the following operations:

  1. Initialize each loaded plugin by calling the plugin function (note: this only happens the first time you call draw).
  2. Set planet.canvas and planet.context to the canvas and the canvas' context, respectively.
  3. Run each registered onInit hook in the order it was registered (note that onInit calls made by plugins will not be made until step 1, after draw has been called).
  4. Start the animation loop, each tick clearing the canvas and calling any registered onDraw hooks in order.
<canvas id='myCanvas' width='123' height='456'></canvas>
var canvas = document.getElementById('myCanvas');

Once you've called draw() on a planet, you should not call it again unless you first call stop().


Stop drawing the planet to the canvas. This disables the internal draw loop. You can register functions to call when the planet is stopped using the onStop method; if you don't plan on reusing the planet, be sure to clean up timers and references to internal properties, if necessary, so that it can be garbage collected.

You can draw the planet to a new (or the same) canvas using the draw method as normal. All your plugins' onInit functions will fire, although the plugin function itself will not be called again.

Keep in mind that, since the internal draw loop is stopped, your plugins' onDraw functions are not being called. If you have timers or other mechanisms that continually push data into a data structure that an onDraw method cleans up, you should disable or pause it.