As the old saying goes, you’ve got to spend money to make money. And surveying professionals are no different.

To provide detailed information on expected spending in the next year on equipment and software, BNP Media’s market research division worked with the staff of POB magazine to conduct a market study this fall. And just who did we ask? The majority of our 2014 study respondents — 54 percent — work directly in surveying/geomatics. Another 25 percent are in corporate/executive management, while 10 percent are in general management. On the whole, a whopping 75 percent of our study respondents have been in the business for more than 20 years.

Where to Spend?

In the year ahead, study respondents are allocating increased funds for both equipment and software in their fiscal budgets. At $59,977, the average allocated for equipment represents 45 percent of next year’s budget, up from 43 percent allocated the year prior. At $34,654, the software allocation is at 26 percent, up from 23 percent.

Why Spend?

In the year ahead, study respondents are again allocating the largest amount of their capital investment to replace outdated equipment, but at 42 percent this is down from the previous year’s 54 percent. Conversely, the motivation to land new business and enter new markets has increased from 10 to 18 percent.

New or Used?

Whether it is increased frugality by study respondents or a statement on the increased quality and longevity of used equipment, there is a significant shift year-over-year in the anticipated purchase of new and used equipment. While new equipment still dominates at 74 percent, this is down from 86 percent just one year prior.

Which Equipment?

When it comes to equipment, the majority of anticipated spending remains allocated for assets used in surveying, as compared to mapping or construction. Collectively, GPS receivers and total stations for surveying comprise 61 percent of the total, up from 60 percent the previous year. While GPS receivers for surveying are down from 37 to 34 percent, the dollar value has actually increased to $20,127.

Where to buy?

Increasingly, study respondents are receptive to email contacts for new equipment purchases, up from 31 to 43 percent in just one year. Likewise, visiting manufacturer or dealer websites as a preferred contact method is up, from 44 to 48 percent. The vast majority of respondents, however, still also prefer in-person meetings with dealer stores and sales representatives, up from 69 to 71 percent.

Training and Support

Where study respondents expect to spend their training/support budget remains well distributed between the forms studied. The largest group, ongoing support, is up from 25 to 27 percent. Conversely, there is less emphasis on manufacturer training, down from 17 to 11 percent.

New Software

Again in the year ahead, CAD is expected to take about half of the software budget allocated. At $17,019, CAD represents 49 percent of the $34,654 software budget, up from 48 percent of the budget the year prior; the actual dollar value is up about 23 percent from last year’s $13,873. “Emerging” software types remain at less than 10 percent.


Capital Investment
Click here to download the PDF of the Capital Investment Study