The geospatial industry is in for an exciting time as geospatial is getting embedded in majority of applications and services today. With increasing geospatial awareness, business process embedment, enterprise level adoption, ROI orientation and the accelerating convergence of geospatial industry with the technology ecosystem, the geospatial industry is poised for growth. Recent innovations in the geospatial industry have brought a significant value proposition to several vertical industries by offering diverse geospatial products (hardware, software, and data), services and solutions.
The Global Geospatial Industry Outlook, an exclusive study by Geospatial Media and Communications studies 50 economies and the geospatial industry ecosystem present in these countries. The report also studies how the technologies driving the geospatial industry and discusses the changing landscape of the geospatial product industry.
Notably, the United States, closely followed by Canada, the United Kingdom, Germany and the Netherlands, are the top countries where the geospatial industry fabric is at an advanced level, inclusive of product, services, solutions and system integration companies. Developed countries are pioneers in technology innovation, convergence and integration and therefore have been able to create geo-information solutions that can be used by all industry verticals. Simultaneously, a correlation can be drawn between the user adoption level and the present industry fabric in a country. As it was apparent in my previous blog on user adoption of geospatial technologies, these are also the countries where adoption of geospatial has been at the system integration level for more than three decades now. The use of geospatial guides the demand of a successful industry fabric and therefore leads to the establishment of a vast geospatial industry ecosystem that focusses on providing comprehensive products, services and solutions through continuous innovation.
Geospatial Industry Ecosystem: Key Takeaways
Developed countries are the ground for technology innovation (IT expertise and software development) and henceforth, geospatial innovation is primarily happening in United States, Germany, the United Kingdom, Canada, the Netherlands, Belgium, and Japan. The penetration of hardware, software and data industries as well as solution and system integration companies is higher in these countries. These countries are also the ground for the development of a sound geospatial industry ecosystem for the use of geospatial is widespread across various industry verticals so as to bring efficiency, effectiveness and to increase productivity. These countries have a competitive advantage in integrating digital maps and geo-referenced data to create business-to-business visualisation and analysis tools thus bringing in the integration of product categories. More so, these countries also lead in offering geospatial services for industry verticals as the demand for data rich and detailed visual representations in these countries is higher. Key services offered by service companies in these countries include georeferencing, spatial data creation, spatial modelling, network analysis, etc. Simultaneously, as the industry moves from just offering products to solutions the industry fabric in these countries continues to widen. These countries have made a smooth transition to also offer solutions and system integration by integrating geospatial with different ecosystems to seamlessly deliver content and information. Consecutively, because the demand for imbibing geospatial solutions into business processes of various industry verticals is high in the developed countries, the growth of geospatial solutions industry is also high in these countries.
The developing countries, on the other hand, are aping the growth patterns of the developed countries. These nations have successfully transitioned from just offering products to products and services in a combination. The need for geospatial services is growing in developing nations and therefore, geospatial professionals in these countries are actively providing 3D maps, remote sensing services, and image processing services to satiate the needs of the users of these countries. Tremendous opportunities exist for geospatial service providers in this region with India and China – two of the biggest Asian economies leading the way. Given that developing nations are heavily populated, there is always an availability of human resources required to cater to the services industry. However, because these economies have only recently entered the solutions industry, they still have a long way to go so as to meet the heights of the developed nations.
Lastly, the divide for the geospatial industry fabric among the developed countries and emerging economies is strongly visible. Economies like Ghana, Oman, Ethiopia, Bangladesh, Zimbabwe, are countries which are still at the initial growth stage of developing their geospatial industry fabric. These countries are still exploring opportunities in the geospatial domain and are struggling to establish a well-defined geospatial industry ecosystem. At present, their needs for geospatial products and services are not met through any local industry but they majorly outsource the products (data/content) from their developed counterparts.
In conclusion, the geospatial industry fabric is diverse and evolving continuously. While the developed economies are leading providers of products, services and solutions, developing economies are not too far behind. As technology innovations rise in these countries, the shift towards a solution centric product industry is going to be possible very soon. It is, however, the emerging economies that have to be pushed to establish a well-functioning geospatial industry ecosystem. The need and importance of geospatial industry ecosystem have to be established in these economies on a large scale for them to reap the benefits that can be derived from the use of geospatial.