Understanding the benefits and value of the imagery provided by moderate-resolution satellites, such as Landsat, is essential as future land-imaging initiatives move forward. To identify the importance of these images, USGS researchers are conducting a comprehensive, Web-based survey of nearly 4,000 moderate-resolution imagery users. The survey, initiated by the USGS Land Remote Sensing Program, is the most comprehensive assessment of users and uses of moderate-resolution imagery to date. Survey recipients were selected using a unique “snowballing” method to identify a cross-section of professional users across all sectors (government, academic, private, nonprofit). The survey aims to (1) identify and classify the breadth and depth of the users and uses of moderate-resolution imagery, and (2) understand the importance and value of Landsat imagery in decision making. The study will also summarize the financial impacts on users and their work if Landsat imagery, currently available at no cost, were not available, and assess their willingness to pay for replacement imagery. Results will be relevant to government, academia, and private industry because they will establish a baseline understanding of professional users as well as the value and uses of satellite imagery in their work. In particular, managers in the USGS Land Remote Sensing Program will use these results to support their efforts to ensure data continuity, better serve users, and augment Landsat benefits. The survey will be launched later this month, with results expected in early 2010.
Safeguarding freshwater resources is crucial, and while scientists use a variety of ground-based techniques to gauge water quality, the Landsat program has provided water quality data from orbit for decades.