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Policy Pulse The benefits from open data are immense G overnments and public authorities across the world are launching Open Data initiatives. Authorities have finally begun to realize the value that opening up data can have on economies. It is also believed that open data policies encourage the use and uptake of geospatial data. The United States, in general, has some fairly broad open data-sharing policies. And yet, for the Landsat data, the first satel- lite of which was launched in 1972, the United States sold that data for some 34 years or even longer. The data was sold for $500 a scene, when the government was operating the satellites, and for $5,000 a scene when the private sector was operating the satellites. Even then, when the industry tech- nologically got to the point when data can be distributed over the Web, there really were no incremental costs for delivering that data. Finally, in 2008, the USGS and the Department of the Interior announced that all Landsat data will be broadly and openly available. At the peak of data sales in 2001, 51 or 52 scenes a day of Landsat data were sold. The revenue generated from that was barely $4.5-5 million. And even then, it was just government money being re-circulated, because the buyers comprised of federal agencies and universities who received their funding from the government and contractors who were work- ing for federal agencies. And let’s not forget the administrative costs that were being incurred with each transaction. But, soon as the data was released broadly and openly, the orders jumped up to 5,700 scenes a day across the globe. According to an anal- ysis in 2011, the economic benefits of broad open data policy brought back $1.7 billion to the US Barbara Ryan Secretariat Director, Group on Earth Observations 72 • Geospatial World • January 2016