Prashant Shukle, Director General of Canada Centre for Mapping and Earth Observation (CCMEO) at Natural Resources Canada, invited the Canadian geospatial community to a pre-release discussion of the just released Canadian Geomatics Environmental Scan and Economic Value Study of the contribution of the geospatial sector to the Canadian economy. The Canadian study was conducted by Hickling Arthurs Low Corporation with partners ACIL Allen Consulting, Fujitsu Canada and ConsultingWhere. According to Prashant
"For the first time, we have quantified not only the contributions of Canada’s geomatics sector to the economy in terms of GDP and employment, but we have captured the significant economic and non-economic benefits to Canada’s economy, society and environment that the adoption and use of geospatial information (GI) makes possible.
The productivity benefits that accompany the use of GI in a variety of applications are of particular significance, not only for innovation within Canada’s vertical industries, but for federal or provincial governments – who tend to have silos of geomatics expertise and have been slower to fully use and integrate GI into operations, planning and policy-making."
The study found that in 2013 the traditionally defined Canadian geospatial industry (2,450 private sector geomatics firms) generated revenue of $2.3 billion. This includes revenue generated by surveying, geodesy and positioning, mapping, remote sensing, geospatial data management, geospatial consulting, and mass market geospatial.
The total contribution of geospatial to the Canadian GDP through productivity improvement was estimated at $20.7 billion or 1.1% of the Canadian GDP in 2013. The sectors most impacted by productivity improvements resulting from the application of geospatial data and technology are
- mining, quarrying, oil and gas extraction (4.54%)
- transportation and warehousing (1.64%)
- utilities (1.58%)
- public administration (1.51%)
- construction (1.23%)
- agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting (1.22%)
- management of companies and enterprises (1.08%).
The study also estimated the impact of open geospatial data to the Canadian economy. It found that open data contributed $ 695 million in productivity improvement to the GDP in 2013. McKinsey Global Institute estimated that the value of all types of open data to the global economy was $3 trillion.
Several countries have done similar studies in the past.
In 2008 a report prepared for the CRCSI & ANZLIC by ACIL Tasman estimated that the spatial information sector contributed between $6.4 billion and $12.6 billion to the Australian gross domestic product (GDP) or between 0.6% and 1.2% of the Australian GDP in in 2006-2007. Secondly, it was estimated that restrictions on access to spatial data reduced productivity in some economic sectors by between 5% and 15%. With open access to spatial data the Australian GDP could have been about 7% higher in 2006-2007. Thirdly, it was estimated that with the right policies the contribution of the geospatial sector to the national economy in the medium term had the potential to be up to 50% higher than in 2006-2007.
In 2009 a study sponsored by Land Information New Zealand (LINZ), the Department of Conservation (DOC) and the Ministry for Economic Development (MED) estimated that spatial information added at least $1.2 billion, or about 0.6% of GDP, to the New Zealand economy through productivity gains. ACIL Tasman conducted both the Australian and the New Zealand studies.
A study commissioned by Ordnance Survey Ireland (OSi) and carried out by Indecon International Economic Consultants estimates that the geospatial information industry directly contributed €69.3-million (Gross Added Value) to the Irish economy in 2012. The estimated economic value of annual time savings through the use of geospatial information is € 279 million or about 0.6 % of the Irish GDP.
According to a report by the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) published in June 2012 the geospatial services industry in the United States generates annual revenues of $75 billion. The BCG report estimates the economic impact of the geospatial services industry on government, business, and consumers is estimated to be $1.6 trillion in revenues (greater efficacy) and $1.4 trillion (about 8.7% of the U.S. GDP) in cost savings (greater efficiency).
In 2013 Google released a report What is the economic impact of Geo services ? prepared by Oxera Consulting Ltd. Global revenues from geospatial products and services as defined by Oxera was estimated to be $150-$270 billion per year. The $270 billion estimate was computed by scaling up the BCG estimate for the United States to the world economy. Sanjay Kumar quotes an estimate by JP Morgan that the professional geospatial market is worth $100 billion.
The Canadian value study (in which the descendant of ACIL Tasman participated) found that the impact of geospatial technology on the Canadian economy is already significant and that there are opportunities for increasing the contribution of geospatial to the economy. Although revenue from the traditionally defined geospatial industry is projected to be flat, the study concluded that there is major growth potential in integrated geospatial - integrating location services into vertical industries.
Prashant emphasized that to enable the geospatial sector to grow, the geospatial community needs to act collaboratively. A new organization GeoAlliance Canada is being established to encourage this to happen. It was launched April 20 in Ottawa. You can express interest in participating in GeoAlliance Canada here.