The Digital Elevation Model market: current situation and
| L.-F. Guerre, A. Hirschfeld, L. Demargne
| C. Foucher
||Institut d'Economie Industrielle de Toulouse
The description of the current market for Digital Elevation Models
as well as its potential development has been studied by Spot
Image at the request of ESA. Forecasting a boost in Digital Elevation
Model offer induced by the ERS tandem mission, an assessment of
the market for DEM is particularly relevant. Although, DEMs (from
airborne, spaceborne, digitized maps) have been produced and used
for many years now, no comprehensive studies of this market are
available. Indeed, it is very surprising to find that few assessments
of this market have been made.
This study aimed to describe the offer and the demand for DEMs.
This involved: identifying the structure of the market, the different
uses and applications, as well as the suitability of the current
offer to the user needs. The market for DEMs was analysed both
qualitatively and quantitatively. The information was gathered
with questionnaires, direct interviews, and from existing surveys.
There is a real current market for DEMs of various sources such
as digitised topographic maps, airborne or spaceborne stereoscopic
imagery, with accuracies ranging from 1 m to 100m. There is already
an existing archive of a few tens of millions of km2 and an annual
production of several millions km2. There are a few number of
large producers in the world and many small producers. However,
the offer of DEM is not very visible and the market not yet well
structured or organised. The price depends on the type of DEM
and the service associated and can vary from 0.1 to 150 US $ per
km2. End users requiring a product that is adequate to their needs
are ready to pay several $ per km2 for spaceborne DEMs.
There is an important latent commercial demand which can not be
served by the current offer of DEMs. This demand is stronger for
high-resolution DEMs (height accuracy better than 5m), but the
market for DEMs with lower accuracy is still significant. This
later market can be addressed by ERS SAR interferometry. Among
the main commercial applications of DEMs are: telecommunications,
defence, thematic mapping and GIS.
The perspectives of the potential market for DEMs are important
thanks to the potential of market development of the most promising
applications using DEMs. However, the market can develop only
with a strong increase in the worldwide availability of the DEMs
for the users, and a development of the distribution and marketing
of DEMs products.
Keywords: ESA European
Space Agency - Agence spatiale europeenne,
observation de la terre, earth observation,
satellite remote sensing,
teledetection, geophysique, altimetrie, radar,
chimique atmospherique, geophysics, altimetry, radar,