This report provides:
- An overview of the global market for remote sensing technologies, including four major remote sensing platforms, 10 key remote sensing instruments, and 20 applications that account for the bulk of the industry
- Analyses of global market trends, with data from 2012, estimates for 2013 and 2014, and projections of compound annual growth rates (CAGRs) through 2019
- Estimates of demand for remote sensing products by region, instrument by application, and platform by application
- An explanation of remote sensing image analysis techniques
- Reviews of remote sensing patents, including patent abstracts and the names of the inventors and original patent assignees
- Identification of the major organizations that form and support the global remote sensing community
- Comprehensive company profiles of major players.
STUDY GOAL AND OBJECTIVES
The goal of this study was to expand on the analyst’s three previous examinations of the remote sensing industry, the most recent of which was published in 2011. In this current study, the most recent available data was used to forecast 20 end-user markets in the 39 countries that account for approximately $11 billion of the $12.1 billion global market for remote sensing products.
REASONS FOR DOING THE STUDY
Since we last visited the topic in 2011, several significant events have influenced the demand for information products created from remote sensed data.
- Many of the key satellite platforms used to acquire critical remote sensing data have been retired; some, but not all, have been replaced with obvious implications for the availability for current data.
- A considerable body of new public data describing national infrastructures, environmental resources and other leading indicators of demand for remote sensing products has become available, making it possible to refine forecasts from the regional to country level for markets greater than $40 million.
- Federal programs that support the collection of remote sensing—the supply side of the industry in the U.S. and European Union—have been subject to budget cutbacks, negatively impacting new data acquisition.
- State- and community-level data users—the demand side of the industry—have had funding reduced as a result of the trickle-down of austere federal budgets.
- In the U.S., Congress mandated the opening of the skies to pilotless “drone” aircraft, which is anticipated to radically change the economics for creating remote sensing products from instrumentation operating from airborne platforms. The ability to acquire a complete unmanned aerial system (UAS) for what is presently the cost of conducting one mission with a manned aircraft will reduce the cost of data acquisition, but also the overall value of the market.
- The opening of the skies to UAS remote sensing removes the need for unique Certificate of Authorizations, which law enforcement agencies must now acquire from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), spawning a contentious national debate on privacy rights issues.
- Increased capability of geographic information systems (GIS) has blurred previous qualitative distinction between very expensive space-based platforms, moderately expensive airborne platforms and low-cost UAS platforms.
- GIS software has sped the integration of low-cost and free historic datasets. The resulting homogenization of historic, recent and real-time data access has reduced the costs of producing remote products. For example, first- generation black and white TV images of U.S. cloud cover from 1970s era weather satellites have proved unexpectedly useful in climate change studies.
This study will be of interest to executives and investors in industries serving the 20 end-user application areas that define the remote sensing market, and manufacturers and marketers of remote sensing instrument and platforms. It will be equally useful for decision makers for national and state governments, multinational organizations and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs).
SCOPE OF REPORT
This report focuses exclusively on products created from platform-mounted remote sensors. Instruments excluded from this study are:
- Instruments that require physical contact with a substance, such as flow gauges in stream monitoring and chromatographs and kindred laboratory instruments in air-quality investigations.
- Airport screening systems.
- Products created from instruments aboard platforms owned by the U.S. defense and intelligence communities and their foreign counterparts.
Study Methodology: Both primary and secondary research methodologies were used in preparing this study. To undertake this forecast, we analyzed remote sensing products currently on the market, announced products, interviews with industry leaders, U.S. patents and products referenced in forward-looking financial statements filed with the U.S. Security and Exchange Commission (SEC). The value of imagery has been calculated on the basis of published prices, and in the case of government agencies, by extrapolating from published program budgets. Demand within each end-user market was predicated upon the use of industry best practices.
Forecasting Methodology: The forecasting model used in this study sees the national demand for remote sensing products as responding to three factors.
- Sufficient telecommunications and information technology (IT) infrastructure.
- Mechanisms for training workers to use remote sensing products.
- The ability to pay for the requisite IT infrastructure, training and data.
Comparative differences among countries regarding those three factors can be ascertained from a nation’s GDP, the use of telecommunications services such as company websites and email by businesses, and its willingness to train its workforce. End-use demand at the national level can be further clarified by adjusting for application-specific indicators. For example, the number of acres of arable land directly correlates with the demand for remote sensing by agricultural end users. Similarly, the length of a nation’s border serves as a leading indicator for border protection products. Factors influencing forecasts are described throughout this study.
We reviewed more than 700 companies to obtain data for this study. We also reviewed reports and studies prepared for peer-reviewed professional literature, and reports by the technical staffs of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Department of Energy (DOE), the U.S. Geologic Survey (USGS), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), as well as their foreign counterparts. We also reviewed relevant Government Accountability Office (GAO), Congressional Research Service (CRS) and Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) documents and filings, as well as presidential directives, executive orders and policy statements. We also examined the technical specifications for 277 presently operating earth observation, navigation/GPS and remote sensing satellites compiled by the Union of Concerned Scientists. In addition, we also reviewed data from scientific and technical conferences, presentations prepared for financial analysts, the United Nations (UN), European Union (EU), European Commission (EC), European Space Agency (ESA) and the World Bank (WB). All information contained in this study was acquired exclusively from open sources.
Technology analyst, James Wilson, studies the commercial aspects of science and technology. Formerly the editor of the Princeton Business Journal and a senior science and technology editor for Hearst Magazines, he is a past member of the National Association of Science Writers. Wilson has served on the adjunct faculty of Temple University and on the staffs of Drexel University and the Academy of Natural Sciences. In addition to being the project analyst for earlier studies of remote sensing, he was also the analyst for our studies of the global markets for portable analysis instrumentation, robots, intelligent wireless microsystems and mobile telematics systems. Titles of his studies are followed by asterisks in the listing below. In connection with his study of remote sensing, Wilson has visited corporate and military satellite remote sensing and UAV research and operation centers in the U.S. and Europe.