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The Global GNSS Downstream Market

The global GNSS downstream market, i.e. the market of products and services that use GNSS-based positioning and navigation as a significant enabler, is one of the most promising markets in terms of European growth, with a growth rate of about +8% per year.

This market offers opportunities to create new industrial activities in Europe, and with them, hundreds of thousands of jobs. There are a number of key GNSS applications and services market in which the European industry must position itself.

End-users benefits

GNSS-based location/timing technologies and services can also strongly contribute to all major EU policies: natural resources exploitation, infrastructure, transport and logistics, health, education and lifestyle, meteorology and climate change, disaster management, institutional activities.

Natural resources exploitation

GNSS contribute to the development of a more efficient natural resources exploitation primarily because of their capability to precisely locate equipment using GNSS tracking. Precision farming uses different and complementary technologies and solutions to increase crop yield and reduce environmental impact. It also reduces fuel consumption of trucks by optimising their tracks. As a result of the EU Common Fisheries Policy (CFP), GNSS-technologies are also used in fishery exploitation for vessels detection and monitoring.


Many services offered by infrastructures depend on a highly accurate time monitoring. GNSS is therefore used in critical infrastructures such as computer or telecommunication networks, finance and banking systems and energy grids. Telecom operators require accurate time and a consistent frequency at distant points of their networks to meet increasingly demanding broadband requirements. Financial institutions are legally required to trace operations within a consistent and accurate time scale. Energy operators required an accurate time source to monitor the energy flow of their networks

Transport and logistic

Transport and logistics are the primary beneficiaries of satellite navigation. In Europe, GNSS devices are present in most cars such as integrated systems, dedicated equipment, or smartphones. These devices improve significantly traffic flow and transport time. In aviation GNSS is used for navigation, surveillance and aircraft tracking (including drones).

Health, education and lifestyle

Among smartphone applications, a vast majority use GNSS services to enhance the user experience for sport (cycling, running, hiking, backpacking…), to find a restaurant, to locate an address, for tourism, social networking, healthcare, fitness or many other leisure purposes. GNSS technologies also enable and boost innovation and economic development. New successful companies such as the well-known Uber for example have been launched thanks to GNSS tracking capabilities.

Meteorology and climate change

The observation and measurement of natural phenomena enriches greatly the knowledge of the scientific community about environment and ensure better capacities to answer environmental exceptional phenomena. For this purpose, GNSS offer very specific applications that are essential to on-going researches about natural and meteorological phenomena, or geodesy.

Disaster management

Timing and positioning capabilities of GNSS offer support to response teams to help Search & Rescue teams and organise debris removal. Moreover, the use of GNSS on smartphone can help search and rescue operations with position communication. GNSS is also used for re-mapping, to establish a grid and geo-reference incident data or plan long-term recovery.

Institutional activities

Initially developed for military purposes, GNSS offers great tracking capacities as well as highly accurate timing possibilities essential for some military activities such as forces deployment, communication network timing, or even missile guidance. GNSS can be used for various security purposes such as personal tracking and can also be used for the monitoring of hazardous materials.