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GIS/geospatial industry worldwide growth is forecast to slow to 1 percent, down from 11 percent in 2008 and 17.4 percent in 2007, according to a just-released study by Daratech Inc., a Cambridge, Mass., market research firm. However, industry CEOs interviewed by Daratech were unanimous in their belief that growth consistent with the robust 11 percent compound annual growth rate of the past six years would return in 2010.

North America has not been as adversely affected by the downturn as the rest of the world due to the ongoing needs of homeland security and continuing investment in GIS by the public sector. Growth in North America is forecast by Daratech to top 2.1 percent, more than twice the growth in Asia Pacific and five times the growth in Europe where investment in GIS/geospatial technology has been hurt more severely by the current downturn as many European governments have cut back their geospatial technology purchases in anticipation of lower tax collections.

Perhaps the most dramatic slowdown in 2009 was in the private sector, which is forecast to shrink to $1.4 billion, down 0.7 percent from 2008. This downturn echoes the general pullback of the private sector from major additional investments in new IT technologies. At the same time, public sector sales are expected to grow 4.1 percent to almost $957 million in 2009, reflecting this sector’s continuing deployment of GIS technologies to all the services it offers.

In the traditional GIS segment, ESRI continues to have a dominant 30 percent market share, up from 29 percent in 2008, according to Daratech. Lead by its iconic president Jack Dangermond, ESRI has been a benchmark for new GIS technologies, philosophies and direction for the entire industry for more than 20 years, and indications are that it will continue to be so, Daratech says.

Intergraph, the second largest player in the traditional segment, is forecast by Daratech to have a 16 percent market share in 2009, up from 15 percent in 2008. Intergraph is remaking its entire business around a GIS philosophy; and as a GIS service provider, Intergraph is likely to become even stronger in the years ahead.

Third ranked is GE Energy, which is the market leader in the utilities market where it is forecast to have a 24 percent market share.

In the larger GIS/geospatial market that includes data, geo-enabled engineering, GPS, photogrammetry and remote sensing, MacDonald Dettwiler and Associates (MDA) has a leading 21.8 percent share of the market. MDA’s strength in the GIS/geospatial markets is in geospatial data and engineering services for imaging, GIS, geology, weather and defense.

ESRI is second with a 15.7 percent share, and Bentley Systems, the leading supplier of GIS/geospatial AEC market software and services (where it has a 42.1 percent market share), is third. Bentley has frequently made the running in the geo-enabled engineering applications market and continues to demonstrate strong leadership in this area. However, Bentley can expect stronger competition from Autodesk, Intergraph and ESRI in the coming years as this segment of the market may show greater than average growth, Daratech says.

Just released, Daratech’s study “GIS/Geospatial Markets & Opportunities” includes more than 1,500 charts that cover both the private and public market segments for the years 2004 through 2009. It is available for purchase