In response to Loveland and colleagues  on our article , we commend the job that the USGS has done to operate and manage the tremendously valuable Landsat image data streams and archives. In particular, we applaud plans to implement a 2005 Global Land Survey and to distribute historical Landsat data at no cost. Kark et al.  describe the increasingly important participation of additional countries outside the USA in large-scale Earth observation projects. We hope that these programmes will find the international support needed to maintain and distribute archives as cheaply as possible.