New Report Values Economic Benefits of Landsat Archive at $3.45 billion

A newly released report from the USGS has estimated the 2017 domestic and international economic benefits of Landsat imagery  to be $3.45 billion.  This is an increase from 2011 of $2.19 billion.  Both of these estimates were based on a contingent valuation method which assessed the per scene fee that consumers would be willing to pay.

The report also looked at the tradeoff in accessibility if Landsat data was no longer offered for free.  Currently, Landsat imagery has been made freely available since 2008.  Users can currently download Landsat imagery at not cost, although the Department of the Interior considering charging a per scene fee for the imagery.  The report found that at  $56 per Landsat scene, only 50% of users would purchase the data.  When the price increases to $183 per scene, that number falls to 17%. Per the report, “much of the societal value of Landsat stems from the free and open data policy that allows users to access as much imagery as is necessary for their analysis at no cost.”

Graph showing demand curves for fee-based Landsat data. Source: Straub, Koontz, and Loomis, 2019

Graph showing demand curves for fee-based Landsat data. Source: Straub, Koontz, and Loomis, 2019

Landsat Valuation Report

Straub, C.L., Koontz, S.R., and Loomis, J.B., 2019, Economic valuation of Landsat imagery: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2019–1112, 13 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/ofr20191112.

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