Remote Sensing Technologies and Global Markets

Published - Oct 2009| Analyst - Jim Wilson| Code - IAS022B
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Report Highlights

  • Overall sales in the remote sensing products by platform were worth $7.7 billion in 2008, and increased to an estimated $8.2 billion in 2009. By 2014, it is projected to increase to $11 billion, for a 5-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 6.1%.
  • The largest segment in the market, space based platform was valued at $3.1 billion in 2008. This increased to an estimated $3.3 billion in 2009, and is projected to reach $4.4 billion in 2014, for a 5-year CAGR of 5.9%.
  • Sales in the airborne platform segment were worth $2.2 billion in 2008, and were to increase to nearly $2.3 billion in 2009. By 2014, they are projected to increase to $3.1 billion, for a 5-year CAGR of 6.2%.


Remote Sensing Technologies and Global Markets describes the fundamentals of remote sensing technology and provides 2009 through 2014 global, U.S. and regional forecasts for the 20 most robust applications for remotes sensing products, 11 basic types of remote sensing instruments and four basic types of instrument platforms. The report is divided into 30 chapters and contains 144 tables.
Substantial changes have taken place in the remote sensing market since BCC Research first explored the topic in its 2007 Market Research Report titled Remote Sensing Technologies and Global Markets. This study describes the impact of those changes and presents forecasts for the global and regional markets for remote sensing products through 2014.
To say that remote sensing is in the midst of profound turmoil underestimates the case. While it is true that many of the changes anticipated in the 2007 BCC study, such as the launch of new space-based platforms have taken place on or close to schedule, a series of low-probability and unpredictable turnabouts have also taken place. The failed launch of NASA’s Orbiting Carbon Observatory and an instrument connection failure at the San Andreas Fault Observatory at Depth (SAFOD) have significantly set back important climate and earth science studies. The global financial crisis has had an even more pervasive effect. BCC estimates that it has reduced the demand for remote sensing products in 16 of 20 application areas, resulting in a nearly $500 million shortfall between the 2009 requirement that BCC had forecast in its 2007 study and current demand.
Counterbalancing those negative developments is a series of decisions and high-level appointments by the “science-friendly” Obama administration. In a speech delivered to the National Academy of Sciences shortly after his inauguration, President Obama set a goal of increasing the national investment in research and development to more than 3% of the U.S. gross domestic product. Although he was not specific on how that total would be reached, the seriousness with which his administration views science as a driver of future economic growth became apparent in the allocation of funding through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). (See table below.)
Agencies Targeted For Major R&D Funding Through the ARRA ($ MILLIONS)
FY2006 Actual
FY2007 Actual
FY2008 Actual
FY2009 Estimate
Additional FY2009 Funding Through ARRA
National Science Foundation
Department of Energy
Office of Science
National Institute of Standards and Technology
Core Research
National Institute of Standards and Technology
Source: Congressional Research Service
The ARRA contains numerous programs that will speed the adoption of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) by state and local governments, but it is far from the only positive development. Even before passage of the ARRA provided an influx of funding, the GIS industry had begun changing its business relationships with suppliers of remotely sensed data.
The net effects of the economic setbacks of 2008, the secular shift toward GIS that was already in progress and ARRA recovery allocations for 2009 and beyond is that the remote sensing industry in 2009 is a far more complex enterprise than seemed possible in 2007. In this study, BCC attempts to plot the trajectory of the remote sensing as it leads the economy in recovering from the unwanted financial development of 2008.
This study will be of interest to market planners in industries serving those 20 application areas that define the remote sensing market. It will be equally useful for those working in or with multinational organizations, national and state governments and non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and those involved with efforts to build or expand GIS.
This report focuses exclusively on products created from platform-mounted remote sensors. Thus, it excludes instruments that:
  • Require physical contact with a substance, such as chromatographs
  • Handheld devices and field instruments
  • Airport screening systems
  • Products developed using national defense and intelligence instruments or platforms
  • Geographic information system software, other than programs used in manipulating remotely sensed data.
This report is divided into 30 chapters.
Chapters 1 through 8 provide:
  • An overview of the remote sensing industry
  • An explanation of basic remote sensing operating concept
  • A description of the 10 basic types of remote sensing instruments
  • A description of the four types of remote sensing platforms
  • Regional, instrument by application and platform by application estimates of 2009 demand for remote sensing products
  • Regional, instrument-by-application and platform-by-application forecasts for the 5 years beginning in 2009
  • An explanation of remote sensing image analysis techniques
  • An explanation of the global positioning system (GPS) and geographic information system (GIS) technology as it relates to remote sensing.
Chapters 9 through 28 describe each of the market-driven applications for remote sensing and include estimates for 2009 and forecasts through 2014 by region, platform and instrument for each of the 20 market-driven applications. Chapter 29 offers a review of remote sensing patents, including patent abstract and information about inventors and assignees. Chapter 30 concludes the study with brief descriptions of the organizations that form the global remote sensing community.
To undertake this forecast, we analyze 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. 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.
This report specifically omits handheld instruments and instruments that obtain data only by coming in physical contact with substances. It excludes remote sensing products generated within the government exclusively for noncommercial purposes. An example of an excluded product would be a high-resolution image taken by intelligence agency satellite and used to plan, execute and evaluate a military operation. However, it includes imagery acquired from the private sector by defense and intelligence agencies, such as imaging purchases made under the Department of Defense’s (DOD) NextView program.
BCC studied more than 400 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 Department of Energy (DOE), the U.S. Geologic Survey (USGS), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the Government Accountability Office (GAO), as well as presidential directive and policy statements. In addition, we compiled data from scientific and technical conferences, presentations prepared for financial analysts, the United Nations, European Union, European Commission, European Space Agency and the World Bank.
James Wilson is a noted technology analyst and author of more than 300 articles and several books dealing with science, medicine, technology and business. Formerly the editor of the Princeton Business Journal and a senior science and technology editor for Hearst Magazines, he is a member of the National Association of Science Writers and American Medical Writers Association. He has served on the adjunct faculty of Temple University and on the staffs of Drexel University and the Academy of Natural Sciences. He is also the author of the original 2007 BCC study, Remote Sensing Technologies and Global Markets.In connection with his earlier works on remote sensing, Wilson has made site visits to headquarters and operational facilities of the major corporate, government and military facilities involved in the industry.
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The information developed in this report, is intended to be as reliable as possible at the time of publication and of a professional nature. This information does not constitute managerial, legal, or accounting advice; nor should it serve as a corporate policy guide, laboratory manual, or an endorsement of any product, as much of the information is speculative in nature. The author assumes no responsibility for any loss or damage that might result from reliance on the reported information or from its use.

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Published - Feb-2007| Analyst - Jim Wilson| Code - IAS022A

Report Highlights

  • The total global market expenditures for remote sensing products were more than $7 billion in 2006 and should reach almost $7.3 billion in 2007. At a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 6.3%, the market will reach more than $9.9 billion by 2012
  • Weather forecasting holds the highest share of the market throughout the forecast period, hovering at approximately 38% of the total global market through 2012
  • Public health applications have the highest growth potential. These products will be worth $402 million in 2007 and will grow at a CAGR of 10.9% to reach $675 million in 2012.


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