Google has today published an Oxera report that estimates the revenues from global Geo services at $150 billion to $270 billion per year. For context, these findings suggest that this growing industry is already larger than estimates of the size of the video game industry, and generates around one-third of the annual revenue generated by the airline industry.
This study is one of the first to consider Geo services as an industry in itself, encompassing all digital mapping and location-based services. Use of such services is increasing rapidly, with applications of the technology ranging from electronic maps that are accessible online and via smartphones, to satellite navigation and imaging, and location-based searching. Significant benefits from these uses to the world economy and both consumers and businesses include:
- 1.1 billion hours of travel time, and 3.5 billion litres of gasoline saved globally each year due to improved navigation;
- faster emergency services responses—in England, Geo services are estimated to help save around 150 lives per year;
- improved agricultural productivity, through better targeted irrigation, which helps to achieve global cost savings of $8 billion to $22 billion per year;
- a more educated workforce that is able to fulfil high-end, high-productivity jobs;
- a more informed population through access to information on the location of countries, cities and places of interest;
- the facilitation of competition, leading to savings from price reductions among infrequently bought goods and services of up to $0.5 billion to $2.8 billion per year.
‘Geo technologies are changing the way people, corporations and governments interact with the world, making them more efficient and enabling cost savings,’ said Charlie Hale, Google Maps Public Policy Analyst. ‘We’re thrilled that geo services like Google Maps and Google Earth are helping to grow the global economy, enabling job opportunities, leading the way towards future innovation.’
It is recognised that this industry is growing rapidly, meaning that many of the estimates provided in the report will quickly become underestimates. However, the mechanisms used in the report are robust and provide a framework to quantify the impact of the services as the market develops.