FIGURE 2.1 Increase in scenes delivered since USGS made Landsat imagery available on the Web in October 2008 at no cost. SOURCE: U.S. Geological Survey.


Landsat data were originally available at low cost.13 During the era of Landsat commercialization (see Chapter 1), Landsat imagery cost up to $4,400/scene. With the launch of Landsat 7, USGS lowered the cost to $600/scene, and in October 2008 made the entire Landsat imagery archive available on the Internet at no cost. Use of Landsat imagery increased rapidly (Figure 2.1). It has become ubiquitous as the moderate-resolution data set for both Google and Bing, is the foundation of Esri’s ChangeMatters14 website, and is employed in weather reporting by many television stations. Other examples of applications made possible by free and easy access to Landsat imagery include monitoring consumptive outdoor water usage, updating global land use or land cover maps, forest health monitoring, national agricultural commodities mapping, flood mitigation mapping, forest


13 Approximately $15 for photographic prints and $200 per data set. See and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, 1983, Landsat data users notes: [Sioux Falls, S.D.], National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration [variously paged].

14 See, and K. Green, Change matters, Photogrammetric Engineering and Remote Sensing 77:305-309, 2011.

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