While the U.S. government does not charge for downloading Landsat images, the images have value to users. This paper demonstrates a method that can value Landsat and other imagery to users. A survey of downloaders of Landsat images found: (a) established US users have a mean value of $912 USD per scene; (b) new US users and users returning when imagery became free have a mean value of $367 USD per scene. Total US user benefits for the 2.38 million scenes downloaded is $1.8 billion USD. While these benefits indicate a high willingness-to-pay among many Landsat downloaders, it would be economically inefficient for the US government to charge for Landsat imagery. Charging a price of $100 USD a scene would result in an efficiency loss of $37.5 million a year. This economic information should be useful to policy-makers who must decide about the future of this and similar remote sensing programs.
Additional publication details
|Publication Subtype||Journal Article|
|Title||Valuing geospatial information: Using the contingent valuation method to estimate the economic benefits of Landsat satellite imagery|
|Series title||Photogrammetric Engineering and Remote Sensing|
|Contributing office(s)||Fort Collins Science Center|