Earth NASA

If you follow our news, you may know that March 12, 2024, marked a significant milestone at UP42: in collaboration with Geoawesome, we unveiled a report on the state of Earth observation in 2024.

Presented during an online event with an expert panel, including our CPO, Jussi Koski, the report was the result of a survey that polled professionals all around the world.

The initiative was a natural step in our long-standing relationship with Geoawesome. It was just about two years ago when we launched together the EO Hub, a global knowledge platform for live discussions and insightful readings on topics spanning agriculture, ocean monitoring, disaster management, and super resolution algorithms, among many others.

It is in this highly collaborative spirit that we've decided to create a survey to get the pulse of the latest trends in our industry and make our findings freely available to the entire community.

Why a survey?

We talk to partners, customers, and potential customers all the time. But it's usually in the context of how to work together or solve specific business challenges. A well-rounded survey would allow us to gather facts and opinions on the entire industry from professionals all over the world.

The structure of the survey took some debate. In the end, we decided on questions that would give us a strong overall perspective of the EO industry, from professionals both inside and outside. The questions we asked were designed to help segment the responses into useful or interesting buckets: sector, organization size, role, and main use case for EO data, as well as challenges around use of EO data, to name a few.

We also had some more technical questions, with the option to skip if they weren't applicable to the respondent: type of EO data used professionally (optical or radar, for example), ideal features in a geospatial data platform, importance of API access, and preferred processing tools.

The results

We opened the survey at the end of September. When we closed the survey in December 2023, we'd gathered over a hundred responses from people all over the world, in all different industries. We used their responses to build the report. Here are a few cool takeaways:

  1. 83% of respondents use commercial data in their work to some extent, meaning they purchase their data from a marketplace or from operators (or use their own satellites). What's notable is that only 17% of respondents use open (meaning free) data. Open data, while useful and valuable, usually comes with lower resolutions and revisit rates. Companies might use it where they can, but they often need to supplement it with commercial data.

That being said, 72.5% of respondents say that it's very important for a geospatial data platform to provide access to open data sources. This makes sense; why not test the free options before committing to spending?

  1. When we asked about typical yearly budgets, 27% of respondents declined to answer. Of those who did, however, we see that three industries---oil and gas, energy and utilities, and agriculture---have the highest percentages of "no fixed budget" responses. This suggests that, as Earth observation is still a relatively new industry, budgets are highly flexible and dependent on the value that can be wrung from investments.

  2. The biggest use case among respondents is decision making support (26%), closely followed by solutions development (25%). When broken down by organization size, we found some more interesting information: 

  • Small organizations of 10 people or less are most likely to use EO data for disaster management 

  • Medium-size organizations between 51-200 people are most likely to use EO data for solutions development

  • Large organizations of over 1000 people are most likely to use EO data for decision making support

Get your free copy

Lastly, we decided not to gate the report in any way. The report provides a detailed snapshot of our industry, so in the spirit of the EO Hub, it's free to download, with no personal information required. Not even an email.

We hope you find as much value in reading it as we did in creating it. And if you have any thoughts, questions, or feedback, reach out to us! We'd be happy to hear what you think.

Click here to get your copy.

Kevin Enright avatar

Kevin Enright

Content Strategist

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