Users, Uses, and Value of Landsat Imagery

Submitted by atripp on

Landsat satellite imagery has been available at no cost to the public since 2008, resulting in the distribution of millions of scenes each subsequent year. Additionally, tens of thousands of Landsat users have registered with the USGS to access the data. Considering the number of Landsat data users worldwide and the broad range of Landsat data applications, it is difficult to quantify the cascading benefits to society. The USGS Fort Collins Science Center (FORT) has ongoing long-term research of Landsat users (2009, 2012, 2014, and 2018 surveys). The USGS National Land Imaging (NLI) Program requires a comprehensive understanding of the users, uses, and benefits of Landsat imagery. Direct input from imagery users allows NLI to effectively tailor provision of the imagery and policies governing the program. FORT surveys are intended to provide baseline information regarding the users of Landsat imagery and to explore changes to the program, such as the implementation of the Landsat free and open data policy in 2008 and the launch of Landsat 8 in 2013. The results of these surveys have been used to understand the Landsat user community and to demonstrate the importance of Landsat data. The 2018 survey aimed to 1) better understand user requirement data for satellite attributes, including uses that have not been captured or detailed; 2) monitor changes in users, uses, and value over time as changes to the land imaging program occur; and 3) investigate the societal benefits of the imagery, focusing on economic benefits. To allow longitudinal comparison to the 2012 survey, contingent valuation method (CVM) was used in the 2018 survey to estimate the economic benefits to users from Landsat imagery. Stated choice modeling was also incorporated to gain new insight into user requirements related to the needs of the user community and future satellite features.


Author Name
Crista Straub
Author Email