Satellite-based Earth Observation (EO) is a process of using remote-sensing technique to gather information on the chemical, physical and biological aspects of the earth system. This technique allows the measurement of geophysical parameters of the earth from the orbit with the use of cameras and sensors. The gathered information can be effectively used to monitor and predict cloud cover and climate patterns, detect and assess damage during floods, tsunamis, and other natural disasters, agricultural and usage, petroleum and mineral deposits, availability of water sources.
One of the main drivers in this market is the technological improvements in satellite imagery. Advanced image-enhancing equipments such as high-resolution cameras, and advanced remote-sensing technology have improved the quality of satellite-based earth observation images. This data is shared from various satellites and accordingly used by defense, science, research and development organizations, and private users. The U.S. based earth observation satellite operators GeoEye and DigitalGlobe, along with Europe-based SPOT Image share more than 60 % of the total revenues from commercial data sales.
Demand for satellite-based earth observation market will be high from developing countries such as Vietnam, Malaysia, Kazakhstan and South Africa who would be widening their native autonomous capabilities in the near future. United States, Europe, China and India are all important operators of remote sensing satellites. Leading operators and service providers in these regions are partnering with Geographic Information System (GIS) companies and manufacturers of mobile devices to provide individual consumers with advanced information products and services. Initiatives taken by the government to embrace EO, in addition to the collaboration among operators to expand their capabilities by means of technology transfer would be the major driving factors in the satellite-based earth observation market.