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Aerial Imaging Market Size, Share, and COVID-19 Impact Analysis by Camera Orientation (Oblique and Vertical), By Oblique (Low and High), End-Use (Government, Defense, Forestry and Agriculture, and Others {Infrastructure, Transport, Media and Entertainment}) and Regional Forecast, 2022-2029

Last Updated: May 13, 2024 | Format: PDF | Report ID: FBI100069



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The global aerial imaging market size was USD 5.88 billion in 2021 and is projected to grow from USD 7.51 billion in 2022 to USD 36.70 billion in 2029 exhibiting a CAGR of 25.44% during the forecast period. Based on the analysis, the global market exhibited a growth of 20.25% in 2020 as compared to 2019. The global impact of COVID-19 has been unprecedented and staggering, with the aerial imaging market share witnessing a positive impact on demand across all regions amid the pandemic.


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Aerial imaging refers to all imagery taken from an airborne craft which includes drones, helicopters, or airplanes. It has been used for volume-based calculations, route designing, urban planning, and updating the existing mapping. The popularity of location-based services and increasing application areas of aerial imagery are prominent drivers of this market. Increasing use of advanced technologies such as LiDAR systems, 360-degree vision cameras, Artificial Intelligence, and geographic information systems will create new growth opportunities in the market.


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Increasing Adoption of Innovation and Integration of Artificial Intelligence Improving Accuracy of Imaging

The introduction of artificial intelligence (AI) software improves the overall performance of the unmanned aerial system's photographs, mapping, inspection, and others. Previously, UUVs were only able to show what the cameras captured. Due to the introduction of artificial intelligence software, drones are helpful in area mapping and object tracking and provide analytical feedback in real time.

  • Folio3 Software Inc. designs AI- software for drones that provides real-time data and analytics, aerial mapping, and others. The data gathered from drone cameras is processed by custom-made AI algorithms that interpret the data and provide a full report in a dashboard format. It uses AI to automate and empower drones to perform independently.

  • The company offers a drone AI automation solution that provides a variety of applications in terrain mapping, livestock management, precision agriculture, crack detection and change detection, and others. Folio3 uses AI cloud technology from leading software players such as Google, Microsoft, and Amazon.

  • In July 2021, Plymouth Rock Technologies Inc. signed an agreement with Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust for Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) for performing critical environmental operations. The organization provides Thermal or infrared imaging, a process of taking digital pictures with a specialized camera that records infrared or heat radiation instead of visible light.

  •  In April 2021, Citadel Defense signed a multi-million contract with Pentagon for its artificial intelligence-based counter-unmanned aerial system technology. Titan is an AI-powered system designed to take out small UAS. It can operate fully autonomously while using machine learning and a radio frequency sensor to detect and track the enemy.


Rising Demand for Surveillance in the Government and Defense Sectors Will Propel the Growth of the Market

The adoption of aerial imagery services has significantly increased in the past few years owing to their diverse applications, such as the development of topographic maps, surveillance, photogrammetric surveys, and others. The growing adoption of surveillance drones for applications in public, wildlife, animal, and critical infrastructure safety and security has increased demand for aerial imaging.

  • For Instance, In November 2021, Nearmap announced a significant expansion of its post-catastrophe program in North America. The program will provide high-resolution aerial imagery and location data to insurance providers, emergency services, government agencies, property management firms, and construction and engineering firms to better plan a disaster response and manage rebuilding and recovery efforts.

Aerial photography became an essential part of the mapmaking process in the twentieth century. Aerial photographs provide a straightforward depiction of an area's physical and cultural landscape at a given time. Aerial Photos can effectively support governments in anticipating, responding to, and recovering from the impacts of likely, imminent, or current hazard occurrences or conditions. Furthermore, increasing contracts between key players and government agencies drive the aerial imaging market growth.

  • In June 2022, Federal government agencies in the U.S. signed an agreement with Nearmap Ltd. The inclusion of Nearmap on the GSA schedule is important as it provides federal agencies simplified access to real and scalable aerial mapping tools, imagery, and location data for more than 80% of the U.S. population. Nearmap delivers applications for aerial imagery, including homeland security, federal civil asset management, military asset management, infrastructure management, environmental studies, and FEMA resilience response and recovery missions.

Increasing Demand for Aerial Imagery in Oil and Gas and Construction Drive Market Growth 

The growing demand for resource and energy management, as well as a rise in construction and development activities, is projected to drive the growth of the market

High-resolution mapping and surveys used in various industries, including architecture, oil & gas, solar energy, engineering, construction, commercial and residential development, sewer management, roadway design, roofing, water treatment, traffic engineering, and other areas, are important drivers for aerial imaging. There is a growing adoption of drones for pipeline inspection and maintenance, infrastructure inspection, windmill and wind farm inspection, rail track inspection, solar panel monitoring, and transmission line inspection.

The construction site monitoring and planning sector employs UAVs for enhanced performance, velocity, and precision of information.

  • In September 2021, KVS Technologies signed an agreement with Air Methods to launch its services in North America, with Spright exclusively operating all flights for linear infrastructure inspection. Traditional inspection, maintenance, and repair methods include using low-flying helicopters or having line men work manually on the ground, which is neither efficient nor ideal for health, safety, and the environment.


Lack of Uniformity in Regulations for Drones/UAVs May Hamper Market Growth

Aerial imaging uses capturing photographs of ground surfaces with the help of cameras connected to vehicles, such as helicopters, parachutes, aircraft, kites, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), balloons, vehicle-mounted poles, and airships. Drones are widely used for aerial imagery for commercial, military & defense, and civil applications worldwide. The industry and end-use have witnessed severe limitations on drone flying in numerous countries for the past few years due to various government-related regulations. A few countries allow commercial flights for small drones beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS), and some have a mandatory flight license. Not having uniform air traffic regulations is a major restraint in the industry. The presence of uniform air traffic management can minimize operational challenges.

  • In May 2022, The Federal Aviation Admiration and NASA developed a joint unmanned traffic management (UTM) Research Plan to document research objectives and map out the development of UTM. NASA is instructing Unmanned Aircraft System Test Sites research to explore additional UTM capabilities that will adapt rulemaking as it develops opportunities for aerial vehicle integration.

  • In October 2021, The Civil Aviation Ministry notified a traffic management framework for drones under which public and private third-party service providers will manage their movement in airspace under 1,000 feet. Current air traffic management (ATM) systems have not been designed to handle the traffic from unmanned aircraft. The FAA expects that UTM capabilities will be implemented incrementally over the next several years.


By Camera Orientation Analysis

Vertical Aerial Imaging Segment Held the Highest Share in 2021 Due to Growth in Various Mapping Related Applications

Based on the camera orientation, the market is classified into vertical and oblique

In terms of camera orientation, the global market is categorized into oblique and vertical.

The oblique segment held a higher market share and is projected to grow with the highest growth rate during the forecast period. Oblique aerial photographs help in reducing the costs involved in planning, inventory, and mapping. Further, By Oblique, the global market has been segmented into Low Oblique and High Oblique. The Low Oblique segment is anticipated to be the fastest-growing segment and has the highest CAGR.

Aerial Services, Inc., (U.S.) was awarded a contract for providing aerial imagery and processing of high-resolution orthoimagery for the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) PINE Aerial Imagery contract. Under the agreement, ASI will provide high-resolution vertical imagery for supporting Farm Production and Conservation (FPAC) geographic information system (GIS) programs, including resource management, conservation programs, crop compliance, and disaster response.

The vertical segment is projected to grow at a significant CAGR during the forecast period due to the increasing use of vertical imaging by different segments, such as agriculture and mapping applications by the government.

By Oblique Analysis

Low Oblique Segment to See Remarkable Growth Due to Rising Demand in Real Estate and Other Applications

By Oblique, the market is divided into Low and High Oblique.

Oblique aerial photographs provide the viewer with a comprehensible image of a location and are useful for looking at foreground building frontages.

The Low Oblique segment will grow with the highest CAGR during the forecast period. The growth is attributed to the several uses of Oblique Imagery for applications by users such as national mapping agencies, municipalities, real estate agencies, data providers, and others for the primary advantage of easier identification of objects in oblique imaging.

  • Oblique imagery has been used in the property valuation process as it is useful in determining the structure’s views of the various elevations. It also helps in various perspectives to allow appraisers to determine obscured features. For example, an oblique image can tell if a structure is a closed garage, an open carport, or for accessing potential damage in a flood hazard area.

The high Oblique segment has the camera axis tilted to approximately 60 degrees, which allows for a larger area to be covered and includes the horizon in the final shot. This gives a better wide view of an area which allows for identifying geographical features and landmarks

  • In 2021, The U.K. government awarded three firms a total of USD 2.7 million in contracts to develop autonomous unmanned air and ground systems to help troops Survey River crossing sites during battle.

By End-Use Analysis

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Growing Use of Aerial Imaging by Governments in Different Countries to Drive the Growth of the Market

Based on End-Use, the market is classified into Government, Defense, Forestry and Agriculture and Others (Infrastructure, Transport, Media, and Entertainment)

The Government segments are set to grow at the highest CAGR during the forecasted period due to increasing uses for city planning, infrastructure inspection, disaster surveys, and mapping applications. For example, Aerial imagery surveys in Northern Alberta are used in field investigation and topographic modeling for railway corridors. These surveys will support planning activities, such as land clearing, fencing, and access road preparation for a world-class infrastructure project.

The Agriculture segment is predicted to register significant growth during the forecast period. This growth is attributed to the use of drones in agricultural imaging from emerging economies like China, India, and Australia.

The Others segment held the highest market share in 2021. It includes applications in infrastructure, transport, and media segments. The growth is attributed to the increasing use of aerial imaging for real estate and construction applications.


Despite Some Roadblocks, New Opportunities Emerged during the Pandemic 

The COVID-19 pandemic had a staggering impact on all sectors of the economy. With the pandemic-related restrictions by governments around the world, including social distancing norms, business operations were affected in every sector. However, during this period, new growth opportunities were seen for imaging applications using drones. Many countries deployed drones for delivery and transportation purposes during the COVID-19 pandemic. Drones were used for spraying disinfectants in public spaces to stop the spread of the virus. Countries such as China, UAE, Spain, South Korea, and others use drones for this purpose.

The three most frequently used applications of drones in response to COVID-19 were the following:

  • Sample pick-up from the Lab and delivery and transportation of medical supplies to reduce the transportation time and reduce exposure to the infection.

  • Aerial spraying to disinfect potentially contaminated public spaces.

  • Monitoring and guidance of quarantine measures during the lockdown.


North America Aerial Imaging Market Size, 2022 (USD Billion)

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The global market has been segmented into North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, and the Rest of the World.

North America held the largest market share in 2021 and is projected to grow at a moderate CAGR during the forecasted period. This growth is attributed to the increasing use of aerial imagery in the U.S. and Canada due to the region's flourishing trade, economy, and presence of major manufacturers. Furthermore, the high demand for drones in Canada is expected to boost the market.

Europe will witness moderate growth in the forecast period due to the demand for aerial imaging in Real estate and infrastructure segments. This growth is attributed to demand for use in countries such as the U.K., Germany, France, and others due to the presence of major manufacturers and the use of drones in the agricultural sector. Furthermore, the high demand for drones in the U.K. is expected to boost the market.

The market in Asia Pacific will witness the highest growth, with the highest CAGR during the forecast period. The market development is due to increasing opportunities in the region, a rise in government expenditures and budgets and business opportunities, changing government preferences, demand for drones, and an increase in the number of imaging applications. The growth in the region is due to the growing demand for aerial imagery from countries such as India and China for improvement in agriculture and infrastructure. China is the largest supplier of Drones in the Asia Pacific region.

The market in the Rest of the World in countries such as the Middle East Africa, and Latin America will witness significant growth in the forecast period. The greater awareness of the advantages of utilizing imaging for urban planning, surveillance and monitoring, and disaster management, and the increasing affordability of capturing aerial images is predicted to promote growth in the rest of the world in countries such as South America the Middle East, and Africa.


Technological Trends Implemented by Key Players Are Propelling Market Growth

The market's forthcoming trends include the use of Artificial Intelligence in aerial mapping for object detection and recognition. These leading market players, such as Nearmap Inc., Eagle View Technologies Inc., Landiscor Real Estate Mapping, digital aerial solutions LLC, and others, demonstrate their diverse product portfolios, innovative technology trends, and research & development activity and are included in this report.



  • In June 2022 – Fugro N.V. won a contract from Energinet for a 5-year agreement for capturing aerial and LIDAR imagery data for the electricity transmission network. The company will use a lightweight helicopter with scanning technology to collect data.

  • In Nov 2021 -Toronto-based Ecopia won a contract with the Canadian government to provide map data for network deployment planning. Under the contract, the company will help identify, on a building-by-building basis, which buildings across rural Canada likely need broadband internet access. It will create maps for all rural areas in Canada, and the data will be used as future sources for broadband analysis and deployments.

  • In Sep 2021- The Sanborn Map Company, Inc. was selected by the U.S. Geological Survey for a multiple-award indefinite delivery contract with a ceiling value of USD 850 million. The Geospatial Product and Services Contract-GPSC 4 is a successor to the GPSC 3 contract that Sanborn was previously awarded.

  • The contract allows the agency to negotiate task orders with Sanborn for the next five years.

  • In Sep 2021- Vexcel Imaging launched its new camera release based on 4th generation architecture ultracam condor 4.1. The camera possesses new technology enhancements with a faster frame rate of 1 frame per 0.7 seconds for use in aerial imagery.

  • April 2021- NV5 Geospatial, powered by geospatial data firm Quantum Spatial, expanded its Canadian operations, having been selected to provide lidar, aerial imagery, and geospatial analytics for projects that span five provinces.


An Infographic Representation of Aerial Imaging Market

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The market report provides a detailed analysis of the market. The report focuses on key aspects such as leading companies, product types, and leading product applications. The report offers insights into the market trends and highlights key industry developments related to the market. In addition to the above, the report encompasses several factors that have contributed to the growth of the advancement of the market in recent years.

AERIAL IMAGING MARKET Report Scope & Segmentation



Study Period


Base Year


Estimated Year


Forecast Period


Historical Period



Value (USD Billion)


By Camera Orientation

  • Oblique

  • Vertical

By Oblique

  • Low Oblique

  • High Oblique

By End-Use

  • Government

  • Defense

  • Forestry  and  Agriculture

  • Others

By Geography

  • North America (By Camera Orientation, By Oblique, By End User, and by Country)

    • U.S (By Camera Orientation)

    • Canada (By Camera Orientation)

  • Europe (By Camera Orientation, By Oblique, By End User, and by Country)

    • U.K. (By Camera Orientation)

    • Germany (By Camera Orientation)

    • France (By Camera Orientation)

    • Italy (By Camera Orientation)

    • Rest of Europe (By Camera Orientation)

  • Asia Pacific (By Camera Orientation, By Oblique, By End User, and by Country)

    • China (By Camera Orientation)

    • Japan (By Camera Orientation)

    • India (By Camera Orientation)

    • Australia (By Camera Orientation)

    • Rest of Asia Pacific (By Camera Orientation)

  • Rest of the World (By Camera Orientation, By Oblique, By End User, and by Sub-region)

    • Middle East & Africa (By Camera Orientation)

    • Latin America (By Camera Orientation)

Frequently Asked Questions

Fortune Business Insights says that the global market size was USD 5.88 billion in 2021 and is projected to reach USD 36.70 billion by 2029.

In 2021, the Asia Pacific market value stood at USD 1.34 billion.

Registering a CAGR of 25.44%, the market will exhibit steady growth in the forecast period (2022-2029).

The oblique segment is estimated to lead this market during the forecast period.

Rising demand for surveillance in the government and defense sector will propel the growth of the market

Nearmap Inc. (The U.S.), EagleView Technologies Inc. (U.S.), Cooper Aerial Surveys (U.S), Vexcel Imaging Inc. (U.S), Fugro N.V (Netherlands), AgEagle Aerial Systems Inc. (U.S).

The North America region dominated the market in terms of share in 2021.

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