Canadian Space Agency Funded Report Outlines Socio-Economic Benefits of Space Utilization

Socio-Economic Benefits of Space Utilization final report. Credit: Canadian Space Agency.

The Canadian Space Agency (CSA) has finally publicly made available the Socio-Economic Benefits of Space Utilization final report they received in 2018.

The report compiled by Euroconsult, and written by Principal Advisor Adam Keith, is dated September 7, 2018. As is the case with these reports which need to be translated into French, from the time the CSA receives them to the time the public gets access to them, if they do, can be a long time.

A follow up study was commissioned but is not yet available.

You can access the full report here in English and French, and you can read it below.

While the report may be new to some people, it has formed the basis for many CSA presentations since it was submitted to the CSA.

There is no doubt that this report in part influenced last years new space strategy by the government .

Executive Summary excerpts

Here are some excerpts from the Executive Summary including the quantitative and qualitative benefits and an indication of future benefits.

Quantitative benefits: are considered in terms of a direct economic value (measured in dollars) brought about by the use of satellite assets in order to bring cost-efficiencies to wider business practices, and other measurable metrics. Selected examples of quantitative benefits found for this study are commented on below:

  • Disaster Management: Since its inception, the satellite communications-based COSPAS-SARSAT system has helped save the lives of over 1,500 Canadians, and over 32,000 lives globally.
  • Agriculture: Using satellite navigation (GPS) enabled farming equipment to support precision agriculture has saved farmers $500-550 million/year in terms of improving yield, and more efficient use of seeds, fertilizer and irrigation.
  • Environment Monitoring: Over 200 oil anomalies detected by the CIS I-STOP services over 2013- 2017, 39 of which were validated as discharge from ocean-going vessels.
  • Rural/Remote Communities: Satellite-enabled broadband services added an estimated $2.2 billion to Canada’s GDP between 2008 to 2017.
  • Air Traffic Management: Reduced flight separation constraints enabled by satellite-based ADS-B over Canadian airspace (Gander-Shanwick) allows for up to 450 liters of fuel saved per flight, representing tens of millions of dollars in cost savings annually.
  • Transport/Logistics: More than 100,000 health and fitness related applications linked to Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) were downloaded by Canadian smartphone users in May 2018.

Qualitative benefits: Considering the range of topics addressed for this study, qualitative benefits are diverse. The benefits for environment monitoring, which are more research oriented, are very different to benefits for rural/remote communities, which are focused on populations living in such areas. Selected examples of quantitative benefits found for this study are commented on below:

  • Disaster Management: SAR data was utilized to monitor and support relief efforts of the Quebec 2017 flooding, supporting the Department of National Defence (DND) in their ground operations.
  • Agriculture: Satellite-based agriculture maps are amongst the most downloaded on the Canadian government open data portal. These maps go to supporting policy decision makers and agribusiness across Canada.
  • Agriculture: Support to land management policies across Canada. For instance, benefits include improved monitoring of areas prone to flooding, better management of urban development with regards to water management and risk aversion in changing local ecosystem etc.
  • Environment Monitoring: Help build realistic regulations which mining industries can follow to mitigate noise and dust levels and impacts this may have on local wildlife populations.
  • Rural/Remote Communities: New satellite systems and services are significantly improving the quality, pricing and availability of broadband services, helping enable the government to meet its new universal broadband objectives.
  • Transport/Logistics: More than 23 million Canadians are benefiting from satellite GPS applications to optimize routing/travel.

Areas for future growth: The future growth of benefit impacts of the indicators assessed is largely a result of the introduction of new satellite solutions which can bring greater benefits to existing or growing application areas; Growing penetration rates of existing technologies. For instance, the role of satellite navigation in precision agriculture continues to grow alongside increasing adoption within agribusiness; and, external factors to the satellite technology, such as a changing macro-economic environment. Selected examples of quantifiable growth are noted below:

  • Agriculture: With respect to the use of satellite imagery in precision agriculture, <10% of Canadian farms currently use satellite imagery to support activities. Increasing penetration rates to 25% by 2027 would imply a benefit in terms of cost savings to farmers in the range of $650 million to $1.3 billion depending on crop type. In addition, increased penetration of satellite navigation in precision agriculture could lead to cost-savings of $800 million/year by 2027.
  • Rural/Remote Communities: Potential to add another $2.7 billion to the Canadian economy over the next decade through increasing broadband penetration in rural and remote regions.
  • Remote/Rural Communities: The growth in broadband penetration is also expected to have further positive impacts on health and education. Government schemes, such as the Northern Distance Learning Program, now incorporate 35 students from seven communities.
  • Air Traffic Management: Potential cumulative reduction of 27.6 million tons of CO2 equivalent emission across Canadian controlled airspace by 2027 through the implementation of ADS-B resulting in more efficient flight routes.
  • Air Traffic Management: The anticipated growth in air traffic enabled by ADS-B translates into augmented revenue from fees established by NavCanada, resulting in tax payments estimated at $19 million per year by 2027.
  • Transport/Logistics: An improved container utilization enabled by space-based IoT translates into a $170 million positive impact on the Canadian maritime industry by 2025.
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About Marc Boucher

Marc Boucher
Boucher is an entrepreneur, writer, editor & publisher. He is the founder of SpaceQ Media Inc. and CEO and co-founder of SpaceRef Interactive Inc. Boucher has 20 years working in various roles in the space industry and a total of 27 years as a technology entrepreneur including creating Maple Square, Canada's first internet directory and search engine.