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Editorial Autumn 2015

I am very pleased to let you know that we have just published two reports; both of which are available on our web-site. The first is our latest survey of the EO services industry and the second is the first of some case studies we are doing which bring a new approach to assessing the value created by the use of EO data.
The 2015 industry survey takes a comprehensive look at the state of the EO services industry in Europe and Canada.
The results are very detailed and provide a very effective basis on which we can monitor the sector for trends and consequently develop our messages to policy makers concerning their decisions which impact on the industry. It is based on 2014 figures and follows the first one which we made 2 years ago (2013 survey based on 2012 figures).

The survey covers the full chain of activities in the sector from the operators of satellites, through data resellers, value-added service providers and GI companies. It looks at employment and revenue figures and their evolution and it also covers a number of strategic issues and the way that the companies in Europe and Canada are adapting to the changing competitive environment. The survey is carried out in two parts with a core set of questions on-line and a second set of more strategic ones which are covered through phone conversations. We have received 152 responses to the core and 60 for the full survey; all companies completing the full survey have already completed the core part.

Probably the strongest message is that the sector is growing strongly.
All the basic measures of employment, revenues and the number of companies are growing at between 8-10% per annum. This has been relatively steady since the first survey was conducted in 2006 (not by EARSC) although there are some signs that in recent years the rate may have slowed down slightly.

Between 2008 and 2011, we found that growth was boosted by the creation of several new satellite operators with new satellites being launched during that time. From the recent survey, the growth in data sales has slowed but the value-added services part of the sector seems to have increased so that it now generates some 50% of the total sector revenues compared to 40% in 2012.

But the two figures which everyone looks for are jobs and revenues. We find that the total revenue in 2014 was €911m (€786m in 2012) and direct employment was 6811 (5928). The number of companies has grown from 389 in 2012 to 451 in 2014, with, as would be expected, most of this driven by the creation of new micro and small enterprises.

Since Copernicus is such an important programme for Europe, the survey this time had more questions linked to it than was the case in 2012. This shows the increasing interest in the programme and the ambitions of the industry to be able to exploit the public investment to develop new business. The survey was constructed to enable us to track the impact of Copernicus in future years and of course the timing of this last survey meant that any real impact coming from Copernicus is still to be seen.

The report available on our web-site is packed with charts and figures and there will shortly be an even longer report with even more data contained in it. We are also asked to carry out further analysis on specific matters using the data which we have collected and we are happy to do this. We are currently deepening our understanding of the Dutch sector and hope to be able to support studies into other countries in Europe.

As a further step, we shall start to look at some regions outside Europe and will be happy to explore this further with local organisations (if any is interested please get in contact). If we can develop consistent and comparable data sets for the industry around the world then we can all get a better view of how our sector is evolving.

The second report looks at the economic value being created by a single EO product. It is a detailed, bottom-up assessment that complements the more normal top-down approach. In this first case, we look at the use of SAR imagery to support the ice-breaking services in Finland and in Sweden. We bring a new methodology with the focus “Satellites benefiting Citizens”.

In the report, Winter Navigation in the Baltic, we demonstrate that there is a minimum of €24m and up to €116m of benefit to the Finnish and Swedish economies.

You will need to read the report to understand why there is such a large range!

Geoff Sawyer
EARSC Secretary General

EARSC EO Industry Survey Report
Case Report – Winter navigation in the Baltic