Global Mobile Positioning Applications: Commercial, Military, Homeland Defense

Published - Aug 2005| Analyst - Andrew McWilliams| Code - SAS011A
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Report Highlights

  • The global market for mobile location technologies is projected to rise from $23 billion in 2005 to surpass $39 billion by 2010, at an AAGR of 11.3%.
  • Vehicle navigation systems and telematics, the largest application segments in 2004 with more than 44% of the market, should be superseded before 2010 by people and animal tracking.
  • Surveying and mapping and mobile asset management are the other two largest applications, and will represent 8% and 11.5%, respectively, by 2010.
  • Complete or integrated GPS solutions increasingly dominate the market and accounted for an estimated 90% of the market in 2004, a share expected to increase to 94% by 2010.


Mobile location technologies are able to locate points, objects or persons on or above the earth's surface by calculating the distances from one or more (usually at least three) reference points. These can be satellites orbiting in space, ground radio stations, cell phone towers, wireless LAN access points or RFID receivers.

Beginning with the successful completion of the global positioning system (GPS) in the mid-1990s, other technologies for determining the geographical coordinates of moving or fixed objects have been deployed or developed. This report refers to them collectively as mobile location technologies.

Each technology has its advantages and limitations. While they are, to some extent, competitive with one another, each has applications for which it is especially well suited. Additional mobile location technologies are being developed, many of them involving a combination of existing technologies.

This BCC report identifies the latest applications and trends in the markets for GPS and other mobile location technologies. It focuses on the impacts these new technologies will have on the global mobile location market.


The report:


  • Identifies new mobile location technologies and applications, including those expected to be commercialized in the 2005 to 2010 timeframe
  • Identifies and evaluates the impact of economic, , demographic, technological, legal/regulatory and other factors that will drive the future market for each of these new technologies
  • Forecasts future (2003 to 2008) sales of each technology, including new products and/or applications
  • Analyzes the structure and competitive conditions in the global mobile location technology market.



Projecting the market for emerging mobile location technologies whose commercial potential has not yet been proven, is a challenging task. This report uses a multiphase approach to identify those with the greatest commercial potential and quantify the market for them, as described below.

In the first phase of the analysis, BCC identified a "long list" of mobile location technologies (including those still under development) and mapped them against potential applications, such as aviation, machine control and human and animal tracking.

In the second phase, those technologies that appeared to have little likelihood of being commercialized in the next 5 years were eliminated through a literature review and statements from industry sources. The result of phase two was a "short list" of mobile location technologies and applications with the greatest near- to mid-term commercial potential.

The third phase focused on quantifying the potential market for each short-listed technology and identifying the principal prerequisites for commercial success. Various methodologies and data sources were used to develop these projections, including trend-line, input-output analysis and estimates of future demand from industry sources.


Andrew McWilliams, the author of this report, is a partner in the Boston-based international technology and marketing consulting firm, 43rd Parallel LLC. He also is the author of numerous other BCC reports, including several nanotechnology-related market assessments:


  • GB-285 Emerging RF Technologies
  • GB-290 Nanotechnology: A Realistic Market Evaluation
  • GB-309 Smart and Interactive Textiles
  • B-182 Medical Robotics and Computer Assisted Surgery Market


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