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U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet 2013–3003

What is the Economic Value of Satellite Imagery?

By Ronald P. Raunikar, William M. Forney, and Susan P. Benjamin

Thumbnail of and link to report PDF (2 MB)Summary

Does remote-sensing information, such as that from Landsat and similar Earth-observing satellites, provide economic benefits to society, and can this value be estimated? Using satellite data for northeastern Iowa, U.S. Geological Survey scientists modeled the relations among land uses, agricultural production, and dynamic nitrate (NO3-) contamination of aquifers. They demonstrated that information from such modeling can allow more efficient management of agricultural production without sacrificing groundwater quality. Just for northeastern Iowa, the value of such remote-sensing information was shown to be as much as $858 million ± $197 million per year, which corresponds to a current value of $38.1 billion ± $8.8 billion for that flow of benefits into the foreseeable future.

First posted January 14, 2013

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Suggested citation:

Raunikar, R.P., Forney, W.M., and Benjamin, S.P., 2013, What is the economic value of satellite imagery?: U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet 2013–3003, 2 p. (Available at http://pubs.usgs.gov/fs/2013/3003/.)



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