Cambridge, US: According to a study by Daratech, sales of GIS/Geospatial software, services and data grew a robust 10.3 percent in 2010 to USD 4.4 billion.
Overall, the geospatial industry depends very much on its base markets in North America and in Europe; however, strong growth in Asia/Pacific, particularly in China, India and other emerging economies of the world should help ensure that the industry’s growth continues strong into the foreseeable future. For 2012 through 2015, Daratech is forecasting double-digit geospatial industry revenue gains as the factors fuelling growth gain more traction.
After a dismal 2009 that saw industry revenues shrink 2 percent as the world economy suffered what some have called the most severe economic downturn since the 1930s, GIS/Geospatial sales bounced back in 2010 and are now forecasted by Daratech to grow more than 8.3 percent to almost USD 5 billion this year.
“Demand for GIS/Geospatial products is driven by an increasing global need for geographically correlated information,” said Charles Foundyller, Daratech’s CEO. “As more and more Web sites such as Google Earth and consumer navigation systems such as TomTom bring awareness of the power of linking business and consumer information with their geography, Geo-enabled apps will become the norm.”
According to Daratech; so far, influence and power of GIS/Geospatial technologies have largely gone unnoticed by investors and the general public. Many may find it hard to accept that an industry with annual worldwide sales of less than one hundredth of one percent of global GDP can make a discernable difference, yet technologies developed by this industry are contributing mightily to an ever growing range of activities in all sectors of the world economy. This has not gone unnoticed by some fund managers who see the possibility of explosive industry growth within a relatively short time frame.
The scope of where GIS/Geospatial technology makes a difference is impressive, and growing. It contributes to national security; helps governments at all levels manage their natural resources and infrastructure; assists an ever increasing number of businesses in a growing range of industries to streamline operations; and it helps individuals in their daily lives in matters such as locating a good place to live, a good vacation spot, navigating their car, or finding people with similar interests that live nearby.
GIS Data is today the fastest growing segment of the GIS/geospatial business. GIS Data has grown at a compound annual rate of 15.5 percent for the last eight years — about twice the rate of growth for software and services. “GIS Data is to GIS/Geospatial apps what software is to computers,” said Foundyller. “Without it, GIS/Geospatial apps have nothing to tell us.” Consequently, as more location-related data becomes available, the use and scope of Geospatial analyses is sure to grow dramatically.
“Data sales, defence and security apps, mobile device apps, and Web apps, will be the top business drivers for the industry,” said Foundyller. “But what is really exciting is that advances in image processing technologies are accelerating and refining GIS data production by orders of magnitude, and creating a new feedstock for apps of all kinds.”
Business opportunities for GIS/Geospatial products and services have never been better. In the US and elsewhere national governments are funding surveillance satellites as well as non-defence remote sensing systems with amounts that are multiples of today’s geospatial industry’s annual sales. In order to organise and correlate all the information that such systems will collect, GIS databases and related GIS analytical technologies will be in increasing demand. At the same time, the explosive growth of ever more powerful interconnected mobile devices and the ever-increasing rates of information flow that their networks support will create even broader opportunities for geospatial apps for these devices and collaterally for Web/Cloud apps as well.
“Another segment to watch is the so-called geo-enabled engineering segment,” said Foundyller. “In future we expect CAD systems and GIS systems will become far more closely linked, so that architects and city planners, for example, will be able to easily see their designs, in situ, together with other location-specific information related to their designs.”
“Our research indicates that the geospatial industry continues to grow faster in regions outside of Europe, North America and Asia Pacific,” added Foundyller, However, this region accounts for just 8 percent of total industry sales, so it may be a while before it can make significant contributions to the industry’s overall growth. On the other hand, North America which accounts for almost half the industry’s annual sales has enjoyed an 11 percent compounded annual growth rate for the last 8 years, while Asia/Pacific with a 8.7 percent CAGR leads Europe, a region that grew at a slower 7.9 percent compound annual rate.