According to a new research report by the market research and strategy consulting firm, Global Market Insights, Inc, Aerial Imaging Market set to reach USD 4 billion by 2024, growing at a rate of over 13% during the forecast period. Increasing popularity of UAVs and growing incidents of natural disasters are anticipated to fuel the market growth during the forecast period. Aerial imaging is now being used in military & defense applications for purposes such as monitoring, weather forecasting, and real-time information. The pilots can use gathered data for effectively planning flight routes for improving the combat operations. The use of commercial drones for photography due to its cost-benefits over conventional platforms, such as helicopter and fixed-wing aircraft-mounted camera, helps the imaging industry to grow.
Aerial imaging is also widely used for capturing events and different occasions efficiently. Aerial photography minimizes the overall access time and serves as an effective tool for evacuation planning by finding potential hazardous locations to help the relief personnel in emergency situations. The tools and techniques used traditionally for imaging, such as camera systems fixed on choppers and parachutes, are declining due to their incapability in diverse climatic situations. The developments in UAVs offer very accurate and clear aerial clicks when compared to conventional aerial photography. Furthermore, the rising investments in research activities and the use of latest technology, such as the integration of AI in drones, are expected to drive the market growth over the period.
The UAV drone segment held about 71% market share in 2017. By the year 2024, the UAV segment is estimated to account for a majority market share of approximately 78% due to its rising use for aerial photography applications in government, education, agriculture, construction, and defense sectors. As drones are a better option for capturing events in urban areas, the government agencies are implementing this resource for crime investigation and regulation enforcement purposes. However, due to the high cost of helicopter-mounted cameras over drones, their use for aerial imaging is expected to decline steadily over the period.
The vertical imaging segment accounted for around 64% share of the aerial imaging market in 2017. The dominance of vertical type of imaging is attributed to its primary use in geospatial mapping applications. The vertical images provide necessary information for precise digital mapping of territories, which is widely adopted by government institutions. The oblique imaging segment is estimated to exhibit a faster growth at around 15% CAGR during the timeline and gain about 43% share by 2024. This anticipated growth is due to its advantages, such as identification of featured elevations and coverage of a wide surface area, when compared to vertical imaging.
The geospatial mapping segment dominated the aerial imaging market in 2017 with a majority share of around 31% due to the large-scale deployment of aerial imaging platforms for mapping purposes by government institutions. Aerial images are used for photogrammetric mapping through remote sensing to create geospatial mapping models. Imaging is now mostly used for disaster management, which is estimated to grow at a CAGR of 16%. The market is growing as imaging is used to interpret the scale of damage caused by natural disasters. With drastic climatic change globally, the incidents of natural disasters have increased over the last four decades generating the need for better damage analysis measures. UAVs are highly used after the occurrence of incidents, such as tsunami, storms, earthquakes, and wildfires, to plan the necessary steps for rescue operations.
The military & defense segment is projected to dominate the aerial imaging market with a CAGR of more than 15% over the forecast period. The market is expected to grow due to an increase in the use of aerial photography for applications such as simulation & planning of different mission strategies and air defense mapping & planning. The agriculture sector is expected to grow faster due to the developments in technology for precision agriculture practices through mapping of various factors such as crop & soil health, quality, and moisture content. Some of its major applications include irrigation & pesticide application scheduling, seasonal analysis, and evaluation of fertilizer.
North America is estimated to hold a market share of over 42% by 2024 due to the growing investments in the technology by the key market vendors, such as Eagle View Technologies, Google, and government organizations such as the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The growing use of drones in the U.S. agriculture sector is aiding the regional market to grow. The Asia Pacific market is expected to witness the fastest growth during the forecast period at a CAGR of more than 16%. The rising growth in the region is attributed to the enhanced awareness about aerial imaging in the developing economies. Moreover, with cost-effectiveness of drones and increasing popularity of aerial photography in countries including India, China, and Japan, the market is forecast to grow faster over the period.
Some of the aerial imaging market vendors are Eagle View Technologies, Google, Digital Aerial Solutions, DJI, Kucera International, PrecisionHawk, Nearmap, Cooper Aerial Surveys, Getmapping, 3D Robotics, DroneDeploy, Airobotics, and GeoVantage. The market players focus on developing advanced features using modern tools of analytics and image processing. The market leaders are observed to follow partnership strategy for improving the product features. For instance, in May 2018, DJI formed a strategic partnership with Microsoft to integrate machine learning and AI capabilities to the UAVs. Furthermore, in October 2017, Agribotix partnered with The Climate Corporation to provide aerial imaging technology for farming applications in Brazil.