This paper describes and illustrates frameworks for societal benefits associated with data products from the Multi-angle Imaging SpectroRadiometer (MISR), one of five instruments launched into polar orbit aboard NASA's Terra spacecraft in December 1999. The objective of framing and illustrating benefits is impelled by the January, 2007, U.S. National Research Council's seminal decadal survey of U.S. Earth science. The survey urges that all missions explicitly identify potential societal benefits in mission planning and operation. In this paper, our retrospective look at MISR offers approaches which mission planning for future instruments could operationalize. "Societal benefit" generally refers to practical applications of data and data products beyond their intrinsic science merit. The paper demonstrates how societal benefit frameworks work, highlights some of these benefits in the case of MISR, and seeks to provide useful guidance for benefit descriptions in future multi-angle and other Earth observation research programs.