LARS Tech Report Number
The use of public funds has always been subject to public scrutiny and political log-rolling, but the intensity of this public scrutiny has not been higher any time during the past several decades than it is now. Partly this is due to the less favorable economic situation. However, the more important factors are (a) more awareness of the many public projects (welfare, housing, nutrition, pollution, transportation, etc.) and (b) better methods of accounting for costs and estimating of benefits of such projects. Thus, this high degree of public scrutiny can be expected to persist and perhaps intensify.
Public scrutiny is particularly evident in relation to continued funding of efforts of developing "space technology." Remote sensing largely falls into the category "space technology," and it is, therefore, necessary to undertake "technology assessment" as it relates to remote sensing, if this public scrutiny is to be met successfully.
It is the purpose of this paper to show that the basic theoretical framework exists for the estimation of social returns from research and applications of remote sensing. Further, it is the purpose to estimate the approximate magnitude (in dollars) of a particular application of remote sensing, namely the estimation of production of corn, soybeans, and wheat. Finally, some comments will be made on tile limitations of this procedure and on the implications of the results.
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