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.
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.
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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.
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.