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Remote Sensing Technologies and Global Markets

  • March 2016
  • 249 pages
  • BCC Research
Report ID: 157459


Table of Contents

This BCC Research study provides an overview of the remote sensing industry and 2016 to 2021 national-level forecasts for nine application-oriented markets.

Use this report to:

Gain information about the remote sensing industry, with descriptions of important applications including weather forecasting, intelligence gathering, climate change, and public health.
Understand how recent technological changes will alter the remote sensing market.
Receive information about the major patents and remote sensing research programs Receive forecasts of remote sensing application areas and supporting data.


The global market for remote sensing products reached $8.4 billion in 2015. This market should reach nearly $8.9 billion in 2016 and $13.8 billion by 2021, a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 9.3% over the five-year period from 2016 to 2021.
Space-based - conventional platforms as a segment should reach $3.3 billion in 2016 and $4.3 billion in 2021, a CAGR of 5.3% over the five-year period from 2016 to 2021.
Airborne - unmanned platforms as a segment should reach $503.0 billion in 2016 and $2.3 billion in 2021, a CAGR of 36.1% over the five-year period from 2016 to 2021.


The remote sensing industry creates products and services that extend, enhance and organize the way we see the world. The industry’s global network of precisely calibrated instruments mounted on airborne, aquatic, space-based and terrestrial platforms capture infinitesimally small amounts of energy reflected from targets at distances from feet to miles away, and transform it into products and services that provide information for applications from predicting harvests to protecting wildlife and preventing pandemics.

In 2015, the $8.4-billion remote sensing enterprise was dominated by a handful of government space, maritime and weather forecasting agencies along with several private companies with roots in the national defense and intelligence communities.

BCC Research forecasts that by 2021 the commercial portion of the enterprise will have broken into hundreds of small, entrepreneurially driven enterprises. A growing free data and free software movement is strongly supported by space agencies in the United States and Europe. It is involved in expanding remote sensing research programs sponsored by Mainland China making it possible to extract more useful information from what the industry has traditionally regarded as low-cost products.

This upsets the notion that its economic future rests with developing higher resolution imaging. That transition has already led to extensive consolidation among the industries pioneering commercial remote sensing ventures. In the U.S. only one of those pioneers remains, now known as DigitalGlobe. In Europe, the business is dominated by aerospace giant Airbus Defense & Space Group. At the same time newcomers are attempting to create a new generation of remote sensing platforms offering more frequent and less expensive data collection from lightweight drone aircraft and satellites weighing as little as 13 pounds. These are built from off-the-shelf parts and delivered to orbit by commercial rocket companies. BCC Research anticipates that by 2021 many of the uncertainties surrounding this faster-cheaper approach to platform building will have resolved in a positive direction. Thus, while the per square kilometer (sq. km) cost of creating remote sensing products will fall from tens of dollars to as little as pennies, expanded global demand will increase the value of the global business at a 9.3% compound annual growth rate, to reach nearly $14 billion by 2021.

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