EO industry survey 2013

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A Survey into the State and Health of the European EO Services Industry prepared by EARSC under assignment from ESA September 2013



Forward It is with great pleasure that we bring you the results of the EARSC survey of the EO services Industry. This is the third survey conducted but the first since 2006 and the first performed by EARSC. We are very grateful to all the companies that have spent their time responding to our questions. This brochure is a summary of the survey results and the full report can be downloaded at www.earsc.org.

Contents 1. Forward 2. Strategic context 3. Industrial landscape 4. Employment 5. Revenues & growth 6. Activities 7. Customers 8. Thematic areas 9. Research & Development 10. Data sales 11. Internal practices 12. Strategic issues 13. Copernicus 14. The future

The survey covers the state and health of the EO services industry in European and Canada which we have defined as any company selling products or services which contain some data coming from an EO satellite. This includes weather related services although this has not been explicitly included within the survey. The EO services industry comprises data suppliers and value-adding companies; the latter are using satellite data to provide value-added products – possibly incorporating other data along the way. The results show an industry in development. There has been a steady growth in the turnover of the sector since the previous survey in 2006 accompanied by a good growth of employment. The sector has seen a lot of change. The period has seen the launch of a number of new commercial satellite systems (see section 2) as well as significant technology change with the development of Google Earth, the advent of cloud computing and a move towards crowd sourcing. These and other technologies such as Remotely Piloted Aircraft systems are arriving on the horizon and maybe there are other technologies which will emerge in the next 6 year period. The first of the Sentinel satellites is poised for launch in 2014 heralding the arrival of vast amounts of new data. The Copernicus programme promises to deliver new services for European policy makers and the opportunity for the European industry to grow in existing and new markets. Several new private initiatives, largely in the US, as well as other countries launching new systems also promise or threaten to change the market. We plan to revisit the industry facts and figures in 2014 / 2015 to assess the impact that these macro factors have had on the EO services industry and to map the growth and trends that are shaping it. In the meantime, the results for 2012 follow which we hope you will find interesting, stimulating and helpful in your ventures.

5087 employees “The survey covered all companies for whom satellite derived EO data is part of their business. These may be satellite operators, EO service providers, or GI companies using derived products where the satellite data is not always visible”

eoSERVICESindustry © EARSC

319 companies

€ 757m revenues

About the Survey The survey was conducted between November 2012 and April 2013. A total of 365 companies were contacted with useful responses coming from 133 of them via an on-line questionnaire which was focused on financial and numerical data. The responses represent around 75% of the final estimated revenues and 68% of the employees. Of these companies, 54 accepted additionally to hold an in-depth telephone interview providing further information The samples have been checked using several measures and found that they are quite representative of the whole population of companies.


Strategic context The 6 years since the last study has seen a lot of change within the EO services sector. In particular, the large number of new data sources which have come on-stream indicate an industry moving from an environment driven by R&D to one that is becoming operational. As shown in the Table below, in Europe alone 16 satellites have been launched offering imagery of 20m resolution and better; with 14 of the satellites offering 6m or better. There is a mix of optical sensors and high resolution radar which is also a new feature to emerge in the period. The trend is firmly towards higher resolution and more data with more projects emerging for both public and commercial systems. The impact of this on the market is visible in several of the charts in this report. Year










Astrium Geo



Cosmo- 1 and Cosmo-2






Radarsat 2






Rapideye (5 satellites)





















Deimos Imaging






Astrium Geo









Pleiades 1



Astrium Geo






Astrium Geo



Pleiades 2



Astrium Geo


Satellites launched 2006-2012

The European, public system, GMES / Copernicus has moved on with the first Sentinel satellite due to be launched in early 2014. This European programme will have a large impact on the industry and we devote a page to this topic in this report. The Sentinel satellites will deliver large volumes of various types of satellite data which according to the EC data policy will be free and open, in line with moves in the US and Europe to open up all public sector information or PSI for re-use at essentially zero cost. Along with the higher-resolution commercial systems discussed above, it would seem that availability of satellite imagery will not be a constraint in the future and that competition in this part of the sector will increase. We envisage moves to avoid that this competition becomes more intense between the publicly funded and the commercial systems.

"The period 2006 to 2012 is marked by the launch and deployment of several new satellite systems, greatly increasing the amount of high quality data available on the market�








Acquisition Aurensis acquired by Telespazio






Acquisition Independent subsidiary of Astrium after acquisition of SSTL



Acquisition Bought by CLS.






Acquisition CGG acquire division from Fugro including NPA

Becomes BMT-Argoss after merger with divisions of BMT

Company formed out of Lantmateriat

Corporate changes 2006-2012

We have noted a steady increase in the number of companies offering EO services. A lot of companies have been formed in the period (too many to mention) and there has been some consolidation. Major changes that we could identify are listed in the Table. Thsi is certainly incomplete and there are surely others. You can help us maintain our database by letting us know of any others which you know or learn about.


Industrial landscape In 2012, our survey indicates that there are some 319 companies offering EO services in Europe and Canada of which 300 are in Europe. The majority of the companies – 67% - are micro-sized meaning that they have less than 10 employees; a further 28% are small companies with between 10 and 49 employees and only 5% of companies (16 in total) have more than 50 employees. The number of companies has grown at around 8% p.a. from 210 in 2007 to 319 in 2012, with little change in the medium and large-sized categories. This growth in small and especially micro enterprises confirms the dynamic nature of the EO services sector and at the same time is a strong indicator that it is still in the early stages of development. Entry barriers are low; requiring specific skills and knowledge but low capital investment.

also taken place in Spain, Netherlands, Belgium and Austria. Today, we also find that there are companies spread throughout Europe with at least one company in almost every country. Many of the applications require local knowledge or are driven by local, governmental needs for information – often linked to European directives such as land cover and use (Corine, Inspire) and agriculture. We expect this trend for new companies to appear in all EU member States to continue, in part driven by the Copernicus programme.

Breakdown of companies by class

“Over 75% of the companies are privately owned supporting the view, coupled with the large proportion of small and microenterprises, that these are start-ups in a sector that is relatively new and immature”

eoSERVICESindustry © EARSC

In the chart below are shown the number of companies in each country which were contacted (365 in our database at the time of launch of the survey) and the number which responded. Based on these figures and allowing for some errors we arrive at the quoted number of 319 EO service companies in Europe and Canada. This is certainly an underestimate and our database has now grown to well over 400 companies.

Geographical distribution of companies

Unsurprisingly, the largest number of companies can be found in countries which have a history of investment in space activities; France, Germany, UK and Italy. But this is changing and the largest number in 2012 are to be found in the UK (a trend which starts between 2003 and 2006) whereas in 2003 France and Germany were found to be dominant. Strong growth has

Growth in the number of companies


Employment Employment in the EO services sector has grown steadily at a rate of around 10% per annum since the last survey in 2006. From a total of 3000 employees at that time we now see 5087 in 2012. The chart shows the evolution of total employment over this period with earlier figures taken from the 2006 survey result. In compiling this result, a total of 133 companies provided actual figures whilst we have calculated the “missing” employees from the other 186 companies based on the distribution of companies and average number employed in the small and micro classes. In this case the actual recorded responses represent 68% of the total shown in the chart.

Ordered distribution of employees in the 133 companies reporting

Employees in the EO service companies are highly qualified with 90% of the workforce being university educated and over 50% having a post graduate degree. It is worth noting that 33% of the workforce is female and 67% male which is a small increase from 2006 when the ratio was found to be 30%:70%.

History of total number of employees

The total number of employees within each class of company is shown for 2012. The small and the medium categories make the strongest contribution to overall sector employment. The 1% of companies (3) which are “large” employ some 18% of the total workforce and the medium and large combined (16 companies) employee nearly 50% of the workforce. The creation of new micro enterprises is an important first step; subsequently creating the conditions whereby they can grow is even more important.

“The level of qualification in the sector is clearly very high with 90% of the work-force being university graduates or holding higher degrees”

eoSERVICESindustry © EARSC

Qualification levels in the EO services workforce

The age profile of the sector is shown in comparison to that of the space manufacturing industry (figures from Eurospace). It shows a relatively young workforce with a median age of around 39 and a peak a few years younger, compared with a median of 44 for the manufacturing sector and a peak around the age of 50.

Distribution of employees amongst the company classes

The distribution of employees is also shown as a waterfall plotted as the number of employees in each company in order from the highest to the lowest. The horizontal bands represent the thresholds between the company classes. It shows quite clearly the long tail of small and micro enterprises.

Comparison of the age profile in EO services with the Space manufacturing industry (figures © Eurospace)


Revenues & growth Over the period 2006 to 2012, revenues for the sector have increased at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 10.7% from an estimated €412m in 2006 to €757m in 2012. The chart shows this increase which is calculated from the actual reported revenues (€568m) coming from the 133 companies reporting plus an estimated €189m for the additional 186 companies. The reported revenues represent 75% of the total calculated figures (compared with 56% from a smaller sample based in 2006).

companies with new business model; which is what we aee happening here. Of course the trend will have started before the onset of the crisis since the commitment to buy satellites will have taken well before the crisis emerged. A list of the new satellites was given earlier. What about company profitability? Only a limited number of companies were willing to provide this sensitive information and the chart below shows the results plotted as a distribution. It should be noted that the few companies with very high profitability are very small companies where owners are most likely taking dividends rather than salaries. Using the total revenues for this set of companies we can calculate a mean profit level of 8% for the sector.

Total sector revenues (m€) over the period 2006 to 2012

This does not tell the whole story as underlying this is a significant change. For companies that existed in 2006, the growth in revenues faltered with the economic crisis that was at its peak in 2009 - 2010. This is clearly shown as the lower base of each pillar in the chart where their revenues flattened in 2010 and 2011 before seeing a small recovery in 2012. The additional revenues were provided by companies which were created in the period and shown in the lighter shade in the chart.

Company profitability (%)

Finally, we take a look at the growth rates for companies which existed for the full period of the survey ie 2007 to 2012. We show these as a scatter chart for for each of the company classes.


“Total sector revenues are estimated at €757m in 2012. The large majority – 79% - came from the 16 large and medium companies”

eoSERVICESindustry © EARSC

CAGR (%) for company classes

The chart shows the CAGR as a a single data point for each of the companies that existed in 2007 and also in 2012 grouped by classification. Although data is limited, we can see that the large and medium companies do seem to be more stable than the smaller ones. The variation is much less and remains positive. As can be expected, smaller companies and especially the micro-sized ones will suffer more in a crisis.

Impact of the crisis on sector revenues

The new companies more than made up for the loss in revenues from the pre-existing companies. Digging further into the data, we can find that just under 90% of the new revenues came from satellite operators which started selling data in the period. It is well recognised that a crisis will stimulate new


Activities EO service companies in Europe are active right across the value chain (illustrated) and the chart below shows the relative size of each part of the value chain. The first three segments are dealing with satellite data either from their own (or licensed) satellites, from third party missions or as an operator of a receiving station taking data from satellites under contract or license. Data selling activities represent 40% of the market by value.

are dealing with spatial data and using products which have been generated using satellite data. Perhaps the clearest example here is the use of GoogleEarth but there are many others and, whilst this segment was not a specific target of this survey, it will be an objective to evaluate it more in the future. The “information” segment comprises 43% of the market. The remaining 17% is made of companies which are selling software.

Number of companies in each segment

The number of companies active in each segment is shown and out of the 133 companies, 8 are satellite operators, 31 are reselling data and 78 are value-adding. Many companies are active in more than one segment which we shall examine later. We expect that the large majority of the other 186 companies are in the “non-data” activities and we have based our split of revenue on this assumption.

Split of activities (based on 2012 revenues)

Satellite data is then processed into geoinformation, often in combination with other data eg. in-situ measurements, through value-adding services. We have chosen to recognise two parts to this downstream segment: VA companies dealing directly with the satellite data and Geographic Information (GI) services companies which

“Including the ground stations, revenues linked to data sales have increased at a cagr of 17% since 2006 driven by the launch of 16 new European satellites in the period” EO services value chain

eoSERVICESindustry © EARSC


Customers The split of revenues for different types of customer shows that the public market still dominates with a total share of 51% which includes R&D grants but the private sector is at 43% the single largest part of the market.

outside of Europe and North America. This is very similar to that reported for 2003 (15%) despite significant economic progress in many potential export countries. It reflects the difficulty that companies, especially the small and micro companies, have to address these export markets. At the same time, 50% of the companies today perceive the export market as an opportunity.

Share of the market by type of customer (2012 figures)

This split has been steadily evolving; the percentage share of the market for the public sector has remained fairly static at around 50% whilst the share of commercial or private sector sales has grown significantly. In percentage terms it has almost doubled from 23% to 42% and in real terms this is an almost 4 fold increase. This is consistent with a finding in the 2004 survey which notes that the large companies “appear to be more driven by public-sector sales than small businesses” and that “the small businesses seem to be exploring private-sector opportunities more aggressively”. The share of sales to NGO’s and academia have fallen significantly, the latter could be due to the trend towards free data access for public data. Sales to NGO’s have fallen in real terms from €40m in 2006 to €30m in 2012. There has been a small increase in the share of sales to public operational customers – a trend which is to be welcomed.

“…since 2006, the market share for the commercial / private sector has doubled in percentage terms and increased 4 fold in real terms”

eoSERVICESindustry © EARSC

Geograhical distribution of sales

Finally, we look at the revenues coming from different market sectors. The first two ranked are both public sector; security and defence followed by local and regional planners. The latter is probably due to EU legislation in Corine and Inspire. Third ranking is the commercial oil & gas market which has grown significantly since 2006.

Market segmentation Change in market share between 2006 and 2012

The results above are based on a sample size representing €391m of revenue; just over 50% of the total market size. In this survey, we are making no distinction between sales of data and sales of geo-information products.

The geographical distribution of sales is shown in the next chart with the home market and the rest of Europe dominating. Only 14% of revenues come from markets


Thematic areas This looks at the market from the perspective of the service provider and the thematic area in which the product falls (EARSC Taxonomy). The result is based on a smaller sample size (€200m) than that for the market segments which may be because companies do not keep such information or that they find it harder to allocate their products to a thematic area.

products being the largest market with marine second and security third. Of course this does reflect that there are many subcategories for land and marine whilst security is a single category. For the number of companies which are addressing each of the thematic areas, security appears further down the list with 15 companies; a reflection that it is the larger players which are more active in this market. The first three are all associated with EU policy areas where, as in the market sector segmentation these are often associated with local needs and hence encourage local companies. Again, Copernicus is likely to encourage this trend.

Thematic segmentation based on revenues

“Security products represents the largest thematic area of interest but land products in general are of interest for most companies. Land products are often driven by EU policy and are often associated with local needs and encourage local companies”

Products associated with security represent the biggest market with marine ecosystems second and land use / cover change third. Whilst we believe that this is a useful measure we are not sure that these results reflect the reality of the situation. Of the €200m of company revenues represented by this result, €78m (39%) was uncategorised ie responders said that they could not fit their products into one of the categories offered. We suspect that companies are now looking at their products more in terms of the market that they address than for the thematic area it represents and is perhaps a sign of the industry maturing. This topic will be reviewed for future surveys.

Companies addressing the thematic segments

Finally, we can look at how many companies are active in more than one segment which gives a measure of their focus. The distribution of results is shown in the chart for which the weighted mean is around 3.9 and the median is around 2.9. This measure of the industry will be interesting to follow in future studies but bearing in mind the uncertainty of the underlying segmentation and allocation by companies.

Market breakdown by thematic sector

If we step back and look at the wider categories the picture is different with land

eoSERVICESindustry © EARSC

Company focus in thematic domains


Research & development The EO services industry has developed through strong innovation and R&D investment for which there are two sources of funds; from the companies themselves (reinvested profits or loans / new capital) or external grants and development funding. We look at both sources.

companies investing under 10% has stayed relatively stable whilst the numbers investing at the much higher levels has fallen.

For new start-ups and those with high technology content the percentage of their revenues invested in new product R&D has sometimes reached over 75%. In this survey the highest we had reported was 60%. These figures exclude external grants and development funding which we asked for as a separate figure (see below).

Percentage of companies investing in R&D at different levels

External R&D in the form of grants and contracts is a key element in the sector. Whilst this was reported at a level of 22% in 2004, and 23% in 2006, in 2012 it has fallen to around 7%. The different sources of external R&D funding are shown with the levels coming from the revenues of those companies reporting in response to this question. Distribution of company R&D investment

When we calculate this self-investment as an overall percentage of the revenues of each of these companies and take an average, we find that the R&D intensity is 7% which equates to a total R&D investment of €53m across the sector. This level of R&D intensity is higher than the average in the aerospace industry but lower than the software and computer services industry.

“The research intensity in the sector is around 7% but various widely between company classes. External sources of R&D support contribute approximately the same amount again to take the total R&D spend to be around 14% of the sector revenues”

eoSERVICESindustry © EARSC

Industrial Sector

Reported sources of external R&D funds

The figures come from 2012 so relate to contracts that would have been started in 2010/2011 and maybe even earlier. In this period, the main source of funding to the industry was coming from ESA and the EC (Framework Programme). This picture should be different in 2013 and for the next few years given the fall in the former and the rise in the latter.

R&D Intensity

Pharmaceuticals and Boilogy


Technology Hardware


Software and Computer services


Leisure Goods


Aerospace adn Defense


Electronic & electrical equipment


Automobiles and parts


The total external funding represented in the chart is €25.9m coming from companies with revenues of €369m, so 48% of the total sector revenues. Scaled up, this indicates a total level of external R&D funding of around €53.9m or a level of 7%. In total, the industry is spending around €107m per annum on R&D or around 15% of the sector revenues.

R&D intensity in a number of industrial sectors (source: EU industrial Scorecard 2012)

Looking at the trend of R&D investment over the 3 surveys it appears that the level has fallen consistent with an industry moving from an R&D environment to one that is more operational. The number of


Data sales The type of data being sold has been changing. We noted earlier the number of new satellites launched since 2006 leading to new data being offered. The chart below shows the mix of data sales for the European companies (but not just European satellites) in 2012.

departments highlighted in the value chain in section 6 which lends the argument that this part of the sector could be better understood. The following chart looks at the mix of data being used for value added sales based upon what percentage of the value adding company ´s revenues is dependent on which data type.

Mix of sales in 2012

Optical data overall comprises 80% of the market with high resolution optical data retaining the largest share of the market at 35%. Given the advent of Sentinel 2 data in 2014 or 2015, which will offer LR optical data free of charge, we should expect the LR segment to fall around this time but new satellites being launched should push up the share of VHR data sales. Sales of radar data have essentially grown from zero in 2006 when only the public ERS-2 and Envisat SAR data were available.

Percentage of Value-Adding revenue dependent on the type of data

VHR optical data is the most important satellite data for driving VA revenue and that optical data at all scales is responsible for 51% of VA sales. Radar imagery drives a further 18% with a few odd elements also contributing whilst map and in-situ data is required for 25% of the revenues. This illustrates the importance of the data mix to the value adding services. Finally, with the strong trend towards free access to public data, how important is that today for the EO service companies? The final chart addresses the importance of free data for different company classes. As could be expected, it is more important for the small and micro enterprises than for the large and medium ones and a few micro enterprises have built their business almost entirely on free data.

The chart below shows the customers for the data being sold with the large majority, nearly 75% being bought by public bodies whether at European, national or local levels.

“Optical imagery makes up about 80% of the data sales with VHR (<2.5m) set to become the most important part……… only 8% of data sold is going to other EO service companies”

eoSERVICESindustry © EARSC

Data sales revenues from different customers

Rather surprisingly, very little (8%) is being bought by the value adding industry whilst double this (16%) is being bought by commercial customers that are not selling EO Services. These are the internal service

Number of companies with the percentage of their business depending on the free data


Internal practices The full report contains many charts linked to internal practices but we choose to expose just 3 of them here. Firstly, EARSC has been examining whether there is a need for support regarding the certification of EO services companies. A workshop was held in April 2013 which showed that helping c o m p a n i e s t o re d u c e t h e c o s t o f certification would be a welcome start. Looking at the situation today we find that almost all the large and medium companies are already certified to ISO 9001 or a similar scheme. Amongst those 54 companies which we surveyed, only 2 of the small companies were not already certified. Amongst the micro companies, the majority are not certified to the recognised standard ISO 9001.

development. Around 42% of medium/large companies devote 10% or less of their total available resources to developing new business whilst some 18% of micro enterprises devote more than 30%. Equally, nearly 50% of micro enterprises devote 25% or more whilst only 30% of medium and large ones do. There is a clear trend that the larger the company the lesser the percentage of resource that must be devoted to gaining new business. Analysing this further tells us that the median figure for micro enterprises is 25% whilst for medium and large ones it lies between 10-15%. The chart below shows the number of activities within the value chain that each company is offering. No companies indicate that they offer all services covered and 29 companies are focused on only one service ie satellite operator, value adding etc.

Companies with a certified QMS in place

Note that the population of companies responding to this question included all known large and medium enterprises.

Number of companies in different activities (valuechain segments)

Analysing the data we find that:

The second chart looks at the amount of effort different sized EO service companies devote to business development. This is the lifeblood of their activities and hence is essential for all the players.

“Around 42% of medium/large companies devote 10% or less of their total available resources to developing new business… whilst nearly 50% of micro enterprises devote 25% or more”

eoSERVICESindustry © EARSC

• Out of 81 companies offering VA or GI services, 27 are also data resellers out of a total of 31. • Out of the 8 satellite operators, 5 are also in the VA services segment and 5 (not all the same ones) resell data from other satellites. • Out of the 15 companies which either operate a satellite or a ground station, 10 are also engaged in offering VA services. Of the 111 companies that responded to this part of the survey, 26% are purely focused on a single activity, and the median is just over 2; but we do see a strong overlap between the VA and GI services which reflects that we have not managed to get many pure GI companies into the survey.

Percentage of resources devoted to business development activity

The chart shows for each class of company, the percentage that are devoting a certain proportion of their resources to business


Strategic issues The EO services business is a highly strategic sector where the interests of the private and public sectors interact closely; Indeed, the boundary between what is done in the public sector and the private sector has a very strong influence over investment decisions. Generally companies are optimistic about the future and see potential for growth in export as well as in commercial markets. The finding earlier that only 14% of business comes from outside Europe and North America supports the view that this will be a promising area in which to grow.

Barriers to growth

Other concerns are the potential for competition coming from non-EO sources and the lack of funding to help develop new products. We see that late paying customers and a lack of staff are some way down the list of concerns.

Perceived competitive threats

Opportinities for growth

The competitive threat is firstly seen to be coming from peer companies ie other EO service companies in Europe. Several of the data suppliers expressed concerns about the Sentinels and data coming from them as being a serious threat. In addition, quite a number of the responders cited institutional bodies as being a serious threat. Substitute technologies got a few mentions eg. UAV’s, UAS, and ground based radars. One responder pleaded for an opening of his local market for mapping which was currently monopolised by the public sector body and in different ways this was echoed by others.

In total, 54 companies responded to the questions of a strategic nature which means that 50% see exports as a growth target. Copernicus is seen as a good enabler for that growth as is addressed in the next section. Turning to the barriers to growth, the picture shown reflects mostly the views of value adding companies. Their main concerns are access to data and its cost. Looking beyond this, their concerns rest with the customers; firstly whether they recognise what EO services can offer and when they do that they have no budget to procure the services on offer.

“Generally companies are optimistic about the future and see potential growth in export as well as in commercial markets”

eoSERVICESindustry © EARSC

If we look at how companies perceive the threat and if there is any differentiation between the company classes we see no striking differences other than it is larger companies that fear most the threat of international competition.

Raising awareness of what EO services can provide and the problems they can help solve, remains a strong issue. Indeed, this is a critical area which we, as an Association, shall look to tackle.


Copernicus Copernicus is a European programme which will have a strong impact on the market. In their forward looking views, companies rated their perspective on Copernicus as very positive. When asked to rate the anticipated future impact of Copernicus on a scale of -5 to +5 the weighted responses averaged 2.68.

t h e a re a m o s t o p e n t o i n d u s t r i a l contribution. Certainly atmosphere is a topic which is dominated by public sector bodies.

Copernicus services interest to industry Expected impact of Copernicus

It is encouraging that 11% of the companies think that climate change will be a service of interest. It is a broad subject with many interests at stake and industry could have a lot to contribute.

Copernicus will provide geo-information services to EU policy makers. Furthermore, it has a second objective which is to “strengthen Earth observation markets in Europe, in particular the downstream sector, with a view to enabling growth and job creation”. When asked which of the aspects of Copernicus they thought would benefit them most, nearly 50% cited the access to Sentinel data and only 17% of companies foresee benefiting directly from the EU funding of the core services.

Aspect of Copernicus of most interest to industry

“Industry has the objective to contribute strongly to the success of Copernicus and sees it as a strong lever with which to compete on the world market”

eoSERVICESindustry © EARSC

Overall the survey results for Copernicus show a strong industrial interest in both the data and the information which is consistent with the findings in the strategic issues. Industry has the objective to contribute strongly to the success of Copernicus and sees it as a strong lever with which to compete on the world market.

Copernicus market interest - customer type

Copernicus services are grouped into 6 specific categories. Companies were asked which of these is of most interest for their business? The results show land as being the strongest interest by some way. This may reflect the wide variety of products contained within this broad category as we have seen in the thematic areas or it may be that this is considered


The future This is the first survey of the European EO services industry carried out by EARSC and we intend to take further soundings on a regular basis. It will be our goal to update the survey on a 2 year cycle with every 2nd or 3rd survey a comprehensive one updating the findings we have reported here. One element of future surveys will be to maintain a view of the trend of the industry and many of the questions and indicators have been construed with that aim in mind. Hence we also tried to get a measure of the degree of optimism in the industry and several questions were specifically aimed at starting a measure which we shall repeat and use to measure in the future. Three of those are shown here. The employment growth index stands at 1.07; positive but not strongly so. It stands lower than the revenue optimism index which is at 1.43 and we judge this as reflecting that it is easier to increase revenues by a small amount but requires a much stronger commitment to increase the workforce. Nevertheless, after a difficult period when many existing companies saw their revenue fall, it is perhaps not surprising that they remain a little cautious about the future. One factor which is generally seen as positive for the industry is Copernicus. Therefore we took 2 soundings, one concerning the past and a second concerning the future. The view of the past was less positive than for the future albeit still quite good. The index for the impact of Copernicus in the past stands at 2.21 whilst for the future it rises to 2.68. This also includes some satellite operators which are strongly negative over concerns that the impact of the free Sentinel data will have on their business model.




EARSC is a non-profit-making organisation created in 1989 with the mission to foster the development of European Geo-Information Service Industry. Our main objective is to stimulate a sustainable market for geo-information services using EO data. Today, EARSC has about 65 members in more than 20 countries, and is a recognized association both in Europe and worldwide. EARSC represents the European providers of geo-information services creating a network between industry, decision-makers and users. We consider that the market is at a crucial stage of development as Earth observation becomes more frequently used by society and adds positive value to our daily lives. Nevertheless, there are many issues, opportunities and threats facing industrial actors and, through a small secretariat, EARSC informs and involves its members though its website and newsletters, through the provision of web-tools, as well as organizing events. EARSC provides tools for its members to promote themselves and their services. As well as the EARSC web-site (www.earsc.org), we run the OGEO Portal (www.ogeo-portal.eu) for communication between the EO services sector and the Oil & Gas industry and a brokerage site (www.eopages.eu) for customers to find the services which they require and which companies can provide them with a solution.

CONTACT: EARSC European Association of Remote Sensing Companies 26, Rue Beranger, 1190, Brussels, BELGIUM VAT number BE 0447243442 info@earsc.org www.earsc.org



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