Data application of the month: Free satellite data
Free satellite data obtained from earth observation satellites is useful for monitoring a wide range of hazards including floods, drought, fires, storms, earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, and has the added bonus in that it is freely accessible to anyone who wishes to use the data. This ease of access of free satellite data makes it a valuable tool to use for all phases of the disaster management cycle.
The use of Landsat data has exploded since the United States Geological Survey (USGS) began distributing the data at no cost via the internet. In the best sales year, around 25,000 images were sold. The Landsat project has now exceeded that number in a single day. In fact, the 9 millionth image was distributed on September 1, 2012.