Markets and Business behind mapKITE

GeoNumerics is involved in the research and analysis of the mapKITE markets, leading to the definition and implementation of its business concept. In this section, we provide a glimpse of some relevant numbers for UAS general and mapping markets.

Read more about M2M, the current initiative led by GeoNumerics to bring mapKITE to market.


The (general) UAS market

The following table shows the evolution of the number of existing UAS from 2005 to 2013, as referenced by UVS International in their "RPAS Yearbook 2014". The obvious increase in the number of referenced platforms and systems (factor 3 in 8 years), and increase of the number of civil applications (factor 4 in 8 years) is a clear indicator of the blossom experienced by UAS in recent past and current present of technology.

  2005 2006 2007 208 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013
No. of referenced UAS 544 603 789 974 1190 1244 1424 1581 1708
No. of manufacturers 207 252 312 369 422 500 511 478 540
No. of producing countries 43 42 48 48 50 51 51 51 53
No. of civil applications 55 47 61 115 150 171 175 217 247


According to Market Info Group LLC, "Military and para-military applications for UAVs certainly came first and will remain the more mature for the next few years. But UAVs for Commercial Applications promise to soon generate an order of magnitude more economic activity than their military predecessors." Their forecast for the consolidated military and civilian market forecast between 2014 and 2021 is 13000 M€ with 2.17% compound annual growth rate (CAGR). According to FAA estimates, around 7500 small commercial UAS may be in use by 2018 in the US, assuming the necessary regulations are in place.

The message conveyed by these figures is that mapKITE will leverage the huge development effort of the general UAS sector and benefit from the foreseeable future technology and regulatory progress.


The UAS mapping market

The main mapKITE market lies within the growing UAS market for geo-information production. UAS mapping can be situated in the transition from the “innovators” or “early adopters” life-cycle phase into the “hype-phase”, in terms of the Technology Adoption Cycle. However, a steady growth in the past 6 years is evident as confirmed with the staggering figures of manufacturers and applications (see previous table), and also the increasing trend in scientific articles and events reported among the UAS photogrammetry and remote sensing community.

The current market of UAS mapping is dominated by mini and micro UAS with productivity rates of few km2 per day. There are around 100 to 200 systems, experimental or operational, involved in UAS mapping and, around 10 to 15 among those are commercially available in a global scale. Recent success stories like SenseFly or Pix4D (EPFL spin-offs) belong to this group of global players.