Aerial Imaging – Unmanned Technology at the Wheel
Unprecedented technological developments and the Internet of Things (IoT) have been giving the aerial imaging industry an entirely new boost – especially those technologies that were first utilized in tracking wartime activities, and then in various industry verticals. Today, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and drones are setting an exceptional platform for aerial imaging, which are often celebrated for their ability to capture a new vantage point on the world. From enhancing surveying, and mapping capabilities for infrastructure development to helping farmers monitor crops and identify problems, the application of aerial imaging will go through the roof, enabling the growth of its market on a global scale.
According to the latest research by Transparency Market Research (TMR), the aerial imaging market will reach a valuation of ~US$ 2 billion in 2019, up from ~US$ 1.8 billion in 2018.
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Rise of Location-based Services – A Key Growth Promoter
With a wealth of technological innovations on the horizon, a number of industry verticals are moving beyond their traditional development models, while steady economic conditions, mass urbanization, and rapid revolution of industries continue to provide a helpful push. Over the years, aerial imaging has gone through many shifts with regards to technology, and opened several markets to offer products and services, that have in past been cost prohibitive to develop and implement. The increasing online population has promoted several commercial and industrial sectors to adopt location-based services, which will enable them to navigate the location of customers and provide relevant services, thereby potentially raising the demand for aerial imaging. Initially serving security purposes in the defense sector, aerial imaging through drones is gaining increasing momentum in environmental studies, wildlife observation, and the entertainment industry. To that end, stakeholders are constantly working on strengthening their partnerships with government agencies, particularly operating in the field of precision agriculture and the urban development or smart cities.
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North America in the Vanguard
The growth of the aerial imaging market is currently based on technological advancements lined with easy availability and cost reduction in the equipment used in the industry. The ‘normalization’ of drones within mainstream society has further compelled manufactures to innovate their products, including new long-endurance UAV technology, and the result is likely to contribute to the growth of the aerial imaging market.
TMR’s analysts forecast that, North America will continue to remain at the forefront of the aerial imaging market, accounting for ~45% share in 2018. North America is further likely to offer greater opportunities, due to the sheer scale of digital transformation across industries, along with the rising implementation of drone technology in the agriculture and forestry sectors for the efficient and accurate planning, execution, and maintenance of assets. In addition, the growing number of organizations involved in the collection of aerial photographs and in promoting the benefits of aerial surveying to the wider government and commercial sectors in European countries is likely to work to the advantage of market players.
An extensive range of applications in construction activities and property advertising, along with the rising adoption of Personal Aerial Mapping Systems (PAMS) will provide impetus to market growth. However, lack of appropriate security and privacy measures on the accessibility of online aerial images and satellites could possibly represent a threat to the steady growth of the aerial imaging market.
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- According to Transparency Market Research’s latest research report on the aerial imaging market for the historical period of 2017–2018 and the forecast period of 2019–2027, the growing number of end-use industries of aerial imaging is expected to boost the global aerial imaging market during the forecast period.
- In terms of revenue, the global aerial imaging market is estimated to reach a value of US$ ~5.8 Bn by 2027, expanding at a CAGR of ~14% throughout the forecast period.
Robust Growth in Data Volumes Worldwide: A Key Driver
- Location-based services are rapidly gaining popularity. A large number of commercial and industrial websites and mobile apps identify customers based on their location to provide relevant services. Presently, remote sensing is being widely used along with or to support location-based services. Location-based services comprise navigation, mapping, emergency services, remote monitoring, and location-based mobile advertising.
- When used with location-based services, aerial imagery (data) creates detailed (descriptive and easy-to-understand) images, maps, or cartograms that are more accurate and realistic. This aids customers in better understanding of their location and surroundings. The most popular example of this is the Google Earth application, which has made aerial and satellite imagery available to everyone through the Internet for free.
- Aerial imaging provides users access to precise and latest images, surpassing conventional maps in terms of usability and accuracy. For instance, Google Maps guide users to appropriate addresses. The usage of Google Maps by companies (enterprises), retailers, HORACE (hotels, restaurants, and catering) industry, and marketing and advertising agencies to guide clients or draw customers’ attention is increasing. This, in turn, generates the demand for aerial imagery to support various location-based services and online mapping services, especially to obtain real-time and accurate data.
Aerial Archaeology and 360-degree Panoramas the Latest Trends being Adopted by Key Market Players
- Aerial imaging technology was devised in 2011, and since then, it has gained popularity among enterprises, owing to its various advantages, including lower latency, quicker data transfers, low power consumption, and improved performance.
- Key players operating in the global aerial imaging market are increasingly focusing on introducing advanced solutions pertaining to aerial imaging interfaces. This move would help these companies in accelerating the adoption of aerial imaging among enterprises as well as consumers of smartphones, laptops, and tablets.
- The above-mentioned factors are expected to have a positive impact on the global aerial imaging market in the near future.
Privacy, Public Safety, and National Security Concerns to Pose Major Challenges for Market
- Accessibility of online aerial and satellite images offers several useful commercial applications. However, these images can also be used for unethical purposes. Criminals may carry out virtual surveillance of banks, parks, government buildings, or schools by using online aerial and satellite images.
- National security could also be compromised. For example, in January 2007, aerial footage displayed by Google Earth was used by terrorists to attack U.K.’s bases in Basra, Iraq.
- If suitable measures are not taken, lack of appropriate security and privacy can hamper the global aerial imaging market.
Global Aerial Imaging Market: Competition Landscape
- Detailed profiles of providers of aerial imaging services have been provided in the report to evaluate their financials, key product offerings, recent developments, and strategies.
- Key players operating in the global aerial imaging market are
- NRC Group ASA
- Fugro N.V.
- Digital Aerial Solutions, LLC
- Nearmap Ltd.
- Google, Inc.
- EagleView Technologies, Inc.
- Cooper Aerial Surveys Co.
- Landiscor Real Estate Mapping
- GeoVantage, Inc.
- Kucera International Inc.
- Sanborn Map Company, Inc.
- Keystone Aerial Surveys, Inc.
- Quantum Spatial
- Verisk Analytics, Inc. (Geomni).
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Global Aerial Imaging Market: Key Developments
Key providers of aerial imaging services, such as GeoVantage, Inc., are focusing on partnerships and increasing the usage of advanced technologies. Some other key developments in the global aerial imaging market are as follows:
- In August 2018, Keystone Aerial Surveys Inc., a company based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (the U.S.), won a federal contract for aerial photography services worth US$ 1,327,882 from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency.
- In February 2018, Geomni launched a new mobile app for ground imagery and drone inspection, which enables users to collect imagery data from their mobile devices and conduct complete unnamed aerial vehicle (UAV) inspection with the help of compatible drones.
- In July 2017, The Sanborn Map Company, Inc. announced to have secured a multi-year contract with El Paso County in Colorado (the U.S.), which allows departments and municipalities in the county to negotiate task orders with the company in the next five years. The contract offers the county the ability to procure unmanned aircraft system (UAS) services and products from Sanborn.
- In June 2017, Quantum Spatial announced to have acquired a complete collection of aerial photography assets of Air Flight Services. This has added millions of photographs to Quantum’s library. The acquisition expanded the current collection of Quantum Spatial by adding vertical and oblique imagery of Northern California, including Alameda and San Mateo.
In the report on the global aerial imaging market, we have discussed individual strategies, followed by company profiles of the providers of aerial imaging. The ‘Competition Landscape’ section has been included in the report to provide readers with a dashboard view and company market share analysis of key players operating in the global aerial imaging market.
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