Aerial Imaging: Future Growth and Advantages for End-User Industries

How aerial imaging is shaping the future market and why it is in high demand on a global scale

The use of drone services has increased exponentially in the past decade and doesn’t seem to be slowing down. As drones become more affordable and available, high demand for aerial imaging for commercial and consumer industries continues to reinvent business practices across agriculture, construction and other industries.

We will discuss the growth of the aerial imaging market and projections for future growth as well as the efficiencies and advantages gained by using drone photography. We will include examples of how drones have revolutionized measurement in agriculture, construction and real estate.

The aerial imaging market and projections for future growth

According to Allied Market Research, the aerial imaging industry was valued at $2.25 billion in 2020 with a projection of $8.51 billion by the year 2030, establishing a CAGR of 14.2 percent. The growth of aerial imaging can be attributed to the rise of 5G infrastructure as well as growth in disaster risk reduction and prevention, both of which have had a significant impact on the market’s expansion.

In 2020, nearly two fifths of the market share belonged to North America, making it the largest market in that year. And, although Asia-Pacific is expected to show the highest CAGR of 16 percent for the forecast period of 2021-2030, North America will continue to dominate the global market. Increased implementation of aerial imaging technology in industries including government, military and defense, energy, civil engineering, agriculture and forestry, and media and entertainment will drive growth as companies develop imagery libraries of geospatial imagery for use in natural disaster response, property assessments and urban planning.

While geospatial mapping was the most popular application in 2020 at one fourth of the market, urban planning is expected to establish the highest CAGR of 15.8 percent during the forecast period of 2021-2030. The world population is predicted to increase to nine billion by the year 2050, and the use of aerial imaging for urban planning will be used to accommodate drafting and developing for living and commuting.

Efficiencies and advantages of drone photography

The most obvious advantage of drone photography is a birds’ eye view of a site that a user would not otherwise have access to. Ground perspective does not allow for as accurate and precise measurements as an aerial view does. The use of drones is becoming more affordable and keeping track of real-time progress reports for commercial industries is a huge benefit of aerial imaging. Following are more examples of advantages of drone photography.


High-resolution aerial imaging captures and collects prolific amounts of imaging data that can create 3D maps and interactive 3D models. The accuracy of the images can help in planning and developing a site as well as preventing and resolving problems. Quality imaging also aids in rescue efforts of disaster areas to preview risks and exact locations for rescue response.


Drone photography uses GPS which aids in precise location. Farmers can use GPS targeting to monitor the health of crops, identify problem areas and spray fertilizer. Energy site management benefits from precision as repairs to weather damage can be targeted more accurately.

Readily deployable

Drone photography is user-friendly and the experience needed to  deploy and operate can be gained quickly. Drones are steadily becoming affordable and available to a wider range of industries and users. Unlike manned aircraft, UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles) have a greater range of movement, flying lower and in more directions allowing for better navigation and easier and safer access to once impenetrable areas.


Aerial imaging can provide reliable surveillance and security at sporting events, public gatherings and private events. Furthermore, drone photography can gather extensive data during and after a natural disaster that can aid in surveillance and recovery.

How aerial imaging has improved various industries

Aerial imaging has been in commercial use since the 1980s and since then various industries have seen an uptick in efficiency, profitability and production.


The world is ever-changing and weather and population patterns are no exception. The increase in population and severe weather conditions has farmers contemplating ways to keep up with demand and production. From planning to harvesting, aerial imaging has helped farmers operate more effectively.

Soil and field analysis

Drones can provide data for irrigation and nitrogen levels of soil to maximize crop production. Before drones, a person would have had to collect the data and send off for assessment, taking up time and energy that is now able to go towards immediate results and increased production.


Drones have enabled farmers have been able to plant more efficiently by 75 percent with a decrease of costs by 85 percent.

Crop spraying

LiDAR (light detection and ranging) enables drones to adjust altitude as the terrain varies. LiDAR is a remote sensing method that can detect objects in real space to avoid collisions. The LiDAR-enabled drone scans the ground and sprays the correct amount of fertilizer and insecticide in real time from an accurate distance guaranteeing even coverage. Before LiDAR, an increased amount of chemicals made their way through to the groundwater and traditional crop spraying machines were five times slower.

Crop monitoring

Before aerial imaging, satellite imagery had to be ordered well in advance and was only available once a day. Imprecise, costly and often inferior quality satellite imagery is now a thing of the past, replaced by drone photography that can show precise real-time developments and reveal problems within crops before they are unsalvageable.


Before aerial imaging, farm workers had to inspect the health of the crops and be able to spot fungal or bacterial infections of crops. Now, drones can scan the crops using visible and near-infrared light and identify any sickness to be remedied at a quicker response. The use of aerial imaging can save entire crops and document losses more proficiently for insurance purposes.


The construction industry is typically slow to adopt new technology, but it has bucked the trend  with the rapid implementation of aerial imaging and drone photography.

Drone surveying

Aerial imaging captures a more reliable, safe and cost-effective picture of the construction site. With aerial imaging construction managers can survey the hazards before entering the site and even conduct business in more hazard-prone areas.

Monitor site progress

Live streams of sites allow managers to keep an eye on employees, site equipment and stay on schedule. The use of aerial imaging can keep the client or investor up to date in real time by sharing ongoing progress.

Building information modeling

The use of drones can help construction companies render a 3D model of the outcome with more precision and accuracy than ever before.


Today, with the use of aerial imaging, construction managers can plan the safety, equipment, labor and time they will need to complete a project. They can measure well ahead of time for things they were unable to measure before, like insulation for a building.

Real Estate

The real estate market fluctuates, and more people are buying property sight unseen. Aerial views can capture details of the property that may not be seen head-on. Drone photography is fast becoming an integral part of selling and buying property.


Before the use of aerial imaging, marketers relied on a photographer in a helicopter. The pilot and photographer had to be scheduled together, hoping for a clear photo shoot day and it could cost homeowners upwards of thousands of dollars per day. Drone photography is much more affordable and available when the homeowner or agent is ready for photos of the property.

Interior design

Drones can capture the layout of a house more accurately than a static camera. Drones create a virtual tour of a property that can be shared with potential buyers.

Online information

Ninety percent of homebuyers look for their homes online. Aerial imaging of a property for sale saves buyers and agents time from scheduling tours and open houses in a fast-paced market.

Better ROI

Homes with aerial imaging sell 68 percent faster than those without. The use of drones speeds up the home buying process, benefiting homeowner, homebuyer and agent.

The aerial imaging market is a booming, billion-dollar industry with near unlimited opportunity in the future. Various industries are already taking advantage of the accuracy and efficiency of aerial imaging, boosting profitability and productivity. The demand for drone photography will continue to rise and have a massive impact on global economies, both for commercial and private use.



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