The United States is pursuing several major initiatives aimed at characterizing and understanding the interactions between localities and global change in the environment. The largest single effort in this research is NASA's Mission to Planet Earth and a planned system of satellites and ground networks known as the Earth Observation System. This RAND study assesses the data policy issues and barriers to using commercial resources to support the objectives of this program. Its main objectives were to provide an overview of U.S. and international data policy issues affecting remote sensing data, to identify potential data policy barriers to the use of commercial remote sensing data in NASA's program, and to provide recommendations on how NASA and private industry may be able to reduce barriers to the use of commercial remote sensing to meet the needs of NASA and broader U.S. policy objectives.
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