Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Eyes on Earth Episode 19 – 100 Million Landsat Downloads

Eyes on Earth is a podcast on remote sensing, Earth observation, land change and science, brought to you by the USGS Earth Resources Observation and Science (EROS) Center. In this episode, we celebrate the 100 millionth scene downloaded and discuss the open data policy that made the milestone possible.

Download and Transcript Access

Color image of satellite image and two guests of the USGS EROS Eyes on Earth podcast
Image of 100 Millionth Landsat scene downloaded from the USGS EROS archive Also pictured are Barb Ryan (above) and Kristi Kline 

Summary: For decades, each Landsat image had a price tag – a hefty one at times ranging from 400 dollars to as much as 4,000 dollars. That all changed in 2008 with the enactment of an open data policy that made the entire Landsat archive available for download at no cost to the user. In this episode of Eyes on Earth, we talk with one of the architects of that policy, as well as an EROS data manager who saw the post-2008 spike in Landsat data use in real time. The 100 millionth Landsat scene was recently downloaded from the EROS archive, marking a major milestone for a policy shift that opened the door to previously impossible wide-scale research projects and generated billions of dollars in returns worldwide.

Guests: Barb Ryan, former Secretariat-Director for the Group on Earth Observations (GEO) and former Associate Director of Geography for USGS; Kristi Kline, Project Manager for the Landsat Archive.

Host: Steve Young

Producer: Brian Hauge

Release date: March 13, 2020

More on 100 Million Downloads