Industry snapshot

The space industry has been estimated to be worth US$350 billion in 2019 with potential to grow to over $US1.1 trillion by 2040. The Australian space sector is estimated to be around $3.9 billion in size in 2019 and forecast to grow at 7.1% pa over the five years to 2024.

The total direct economic benefits from the use and application of earth observation from space data alone was found to be worth A$496 million to the Australian economy in 2015 , and predicted to reach A$1,694 million by 2025. In 2016, geospatial services were conservatively estimated to generate US$400 billion per year globally.

However, the total economic contribution was predicted to be several times higher, through approximately US$550 billion derived from consumer benefits; the creation of approximately 4 million direct and 8 million indirect jobs; and improvements of revenues and costs of sectors that contribute 75% of global GDP.

According to analysis from the leading satellite service market research company NSR, the emerging market for data analytics services on earth observation and satellite communication enabled sensor data is likely to grow rapidly as shown in Figure 1.

NSR make the following observation:

While the mainstay of the satellite “data” industry focused primarily on data feeds, the value of insights derived from pixels and bits has gained more importance over the years. Cloud computing has eased barriers to entry in this market, and customer adoption has increased. Leveraging services from cloud service providers and other major tech platforms for automation and machine learning tools combined with geospatial know-how has led to the growth of a highly fragmented downstream analytics market.

By comparison, a number of organisation work to capture global impact and value from the space and spatial markets. Two widely referenced works are shown in Figure 2 (above) and Figure 3 (below).

According to a 2018 UK Cabinet Office economic analysis, more accessible and better-quality location data in infrastructure and construction could be worth over £4 billion per year to the UK’s economy . In 2019, the value of Earth and Marine Observations to the 21 economies of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation was conservatively estimated to be US$372 billion. Under a business-as-usual model, the total estimated value of Earth observations to the Asia-Pacific is expected to reach US$1.35 trillion by 2030, or through enhanced cooperation, to exceed US$1.48 trillion . And, the Location Intelligence industry market size has grown from nearly US$ 9 billion in 2014 to around US $22 billion in 2018. The economic drivers for space and spatial are clear.

The power of the integration of space and spatial for social, environmental and economic benefits are numerous and can provide benefits across the supply chain. Think about your next cup of coffee – go all the way back to where it begins. Imagine the farm of the future … where livestock are fitted with location and health sensors that detect not just where they are but how they are coping during times of drought – all enabled through a suite of low-cost, internet connected IoT sensors. Consider that farmers are using fenceless technologies and advanced AI to develop and implement an automated sustainable grazing plan for the property that leverages where the water and feed are today and environmental forecasts to predict where it will be in the future. The milk from the cattle is associated with a sustainable farming certification through an automated farm practice monitoring and certification service based on long-term satellite data. The milk is transported from the farm to the processing factory to the café using a fleet of autonomous trucks whose routes are determined through a network analysis applied to data from a rich network of sensors from other vehicles, sensors in roads, and all enabled by highly accurate positioning, earth observations and spatial data.

From autonomous vehicles on mine sites to spatially enabled canes assisting the visually impaired to navigate smart cities, the case for the power of space and spatial integration is clear. Nations can use location to connect data and supply chains in a way that improves the safety, health, economy, and sustainability of their communities — ultimately making them more liveable and resulting in benefits to society, the economy, and the environment.