The global hydrographic survey equipment market size was valued at USD 2.95 million in 2021. It is projected to reach USD 4.89 million by 2030, growing a CAGR of 5.8% during the forecast period (2022–2030). A hydrographic survey, known as a bathymetric survey, involves the measurement and description of the underwater environment's characteristics that impact activities such as marine construction, offshore oil exploration and drilling, maritime navigation, and dredging, as other activities that are related.
A hydrographer uses various tools and equipment to carry out hydrographic survey projects, resulting in the raster and electronic nautical charts produced from this information. These tools and pieces of equipment include: sensing systems, which include single and multi-beam echo sounders and sonars; positioning systems, which include inertial navigation systems (INS), acoustic positioning systems, satellite, and land-based positioning systems; subsea sensors, which include motion reference units, tide gauges, and wave recorders, magnetometers, current meters.
Hydrography is a method that can measure and describe the physical qualities of the surface of the water below the earth's surface. Hydrographic surveyors investigate the bodies of water to get a glimpse of the ocean floor. It involves the measurement and information of underwater features that impact many operations, such as marine construction, offshore oil exploration and drilling, maritime navigation, dredging, and other related activities. These data are used to create raster and electronic nautical charts for vessels that navigate the waterways.
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Significance of Hydrographic Surveys in the Construction of Marine Projects to Boost Market Progress
The surveying of the physical characteristics present underwater can be referred to as either hydrographic or bathymetric surveying. It is the study of measuring all underwater parameters that impact all marine activities such as marine constructions, offshore drilling, and dredging. Hydrographic surveyors conduct underground inspections to gain precise knowledge of the seabed and locate irregularities and elevations. The advancement of mapping technologies has made it possible to view underwater environments in three and even four dimensions, providing asset managers and operators with a new point of view. With 4D technology, data functionality is improved by including time dimensions.
As a result, it is possible to keep track of an area over time because it provides a more accurate picture of the region. For instance, the development can be monitored over time. To produce a more accurate representation of the features, hydrographic surveys not only help evaluate and define the shorelines and the currents, tides, and waves. These surveys greatly assist the planning and construction of dams, harbors, and docks and are highly recommended. It is of the utmost importance to ensure that the water depth in and around the ports is sufficient to enable ships to enter and dock there. In addition, the portion of the seabed that is responsible for supporting the floating structures needs to have sturdy groundwork.
Rising Offshore Wind Energy Projects Worldwide to Favor Market Growth
There has been a global upsurge in offshore wind energy projects recently. Contrary to onshore wind farms, offshore wind farms have the potential to generate more electricity at a more consistent rate. Wind offshore wind farms are significantly more space-efficient and productive than land-based ones. These are the primary contributors to the worldwide increase in offshore wind farms installed. The acquisition of data, processing that data accurately, and positioning within offshore and onshore marine environments are all areas of expertise for hydrographic surveyors. It is essential for the engineers who are constructing offshore wind farms to have these capabilities to determine whether the seabed will be able to support the construction. When surveying a wind farm, it is helpful to use hydrographic survey equipment market like autonomous survey boats integrated with single or multi-beam echo sounders, cameras, GNSS/RTK, and obstacle avoidance systems. This helps obtain the necessary information about the nature of the seabed.
Consequently, this results in a design that is both economical and secure, which enables developers to obtain the lowest possible investment while still achieving the highest possible efficiency from an offshore wind farm. Because of this, it is anticipated that the market for hydrographic survey equipment will experience significant growth over the coming years, especially in light of the increasing trend toward developing offshore wind farms worldwide.
High Cost of Hydrographic Survey Equipment to Restrict Market Growth
Creating a digital infrastructure that enables navigation at sea to be both practical and safe is the goal of hydrographic surveying. Hydrographic surveys are an absolute necessity to display the most significant depth soundings. The proper execution of a bathymetric surveying task is a continuous process that requires all parts to be carried out methodically and accurately to get desired results. This begins with the beginning of the task and continues until the final submission of the results. Planning a hydrographic survey, survey oversight, data acquisition, coastline delineation, processing, and rendering of the data are all steps in the hydrographic survey process. In addition, even the most accurate data collection methods can be rendered useless if they are not carefully managed, compiled, and interpreted in a way the intended audience can comprehend.
Various instruments and technologies are frequently utilized during a hydrographic survey, including multi-beam sonars, side scan sonars, LiDAR, laser scanners, and sound speed profiles. One of the primary factors that are anticipated to be one of the primary factors that will hinder the growth of the market for hydrographic survey equipment is the cost of the equipment, which makes the surveys quite expensive.
Technological Innovations to Boost Market Opportunities
Hydrographic surveys are almost always conducted first to investigate the various underground parameters before beginning any construction on the seabed. Various technologies, such as bathymetry LiDAR and synthetic aperture sonar, have significantly changed how hydrographic surveys are conducted. A bathymetric LiDAR system works at 532 nanometers to penetrate the water column to map the seabed. This contrasts with an airborne topographic LiDAR system using an infrared wavelength of 1,064 nanometers. It is one of the most reliable and cost-efficient technologies to simultaneously capture both the seafloor and land to provide a continuous and detailed three-dimensional elevation model along the seashore. This technology is also one of the most commonly used technologies. Bathymetric LiDAR is one of the most prominent technologies used in conducting bathymetric surveys because of its ability to successfully represent exact elevation on both sides of the shoreline over regions that extend more than 100 kilometers along the coastline.
The global hydrographic survey equipment market is segmented by type, depth, platform, application, and end-user.
Based on type, the global hydrographic survey equipment market has been segmented into sensing systems, positioning systems, subsea sensors, software, and unmanned vehicles.
The unmanned vehicles segment is the highest contributor to the market and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 6.4% during the forecast period. The emergence of cutting-edge equipment, owing to the rising investments in developing innovative products, is anticipated to propel the growth of this segment. Most hydrographic surveyors use cutting-edge equipment, such as remotely operated vehicles, unmanned surface vehicles, and autonomous underwater vehicles to carry out water surveys safely and effectively.
Based on depth, the global hydrographic survey equipment market has been segmented into shallow and deep water.
The shallow water segment is the highest contributor to the market, growing at a CAGR of 5.6% during the forecast period. An increasing number of products are entering the market that is compact and can acquire data in shallow waters. Moreover, the development of advanced technologies to improve the quality of the data collected in deep waters is expected to drive the growth of this segment. It has been observed worldwide that the utilization of remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) and autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) is becoming increasingly commonplace in carrying out shallow hydrographic surveys. Players on the market are working to develop innovative solutions that will make acquiring data from shallow water surveys easier.
Based on the platform, the global hydrographic survey equipment market has been segmented into surface vessels, USVs, UUVs, and aircraft.
The surface vessels segment is the highest and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 5.4% during the forecast period. Launching modern surface vessels fitted with state-of-the-art equipment, rising demand for unmanned vehicles, and increasing use of UAVs in conducting hydrographic surveys are anticipated to foster the segment growth. A ship that is purpose-built for hydrographic surveys is outfitted with the most recent echo-sounding technology, which can measure the depth of the water and identify any potential hazards to underwater navigation. Every more giant ship has several smaller boats referred to as launches. These launches are dropped into the bodies of water to conduct surveys in areas with shallow water. A knowledgeable survey crew operates each of these vessels during their missions.
Based on application, the global hydrographic survey equipment market has been segmented into hydrographic or bathymetry, port and harbor management, offshore oil and gas, cable or pipeline route, and others.
The offshore oil and gas survey segment is the highest contributor to the market, growing at a CAGR of 6.3% during the forecast period. As operators continue to explore oil & gas reserves in deeper waters, adopting hydrographic survey equipment fitted in ROVs and AUVs is expected to leap over the years. During the development of the oil and gas field, hydrographic survey equipment can manage all the requirements for multiple vessel positioning and the long baseline (LBL) or ultra-short baseline systems (USBL) positioning of underwater vehicles such as remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) or autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs).
Based on the end-user, the market is distributed into commercial, research, and defense.
The commercial segment is the highest contributor to the market, growing at a CAGR of 5.9% during the forecast period. It is anticipated that the commercial user segment will experience significant growth among end-users. The expansion of this sector is anticipated to be driven by several factors over the coming years, including an increase in oil and gas exploration and drilling activities, the laying of pipelines and cables, dredging operations, and offshore surveys conducted by commercial businesses. Additionally, increasing investments in conducting hydrographic surveys for research purposes and an increase in demand for survey vessels for use in defense applications by several countries are anticipated to drive the growth of this market segment.
The global hydrographic survey equipment market is divided into four regions, namely North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, and LAMEA.
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North America is the highest revenue contributor to the global hydrographic survey equipment market and is estimated to reach USD 1,631.40 million by 2030, growing at a CAGR of 5.6% during the forecast period. North America is a desirable market for various commercial endeavors due to its proximity to several significant economies, including the United States and Canada. It is anticipated that the application of hydrographic survey data in oil and gas exploration activities, cargo shipment, research purposes, and defense and security will drive the market's growth.
Increased investments by the European Union to provide end-users with high-resolution data from underwater surveys will accelerate the market's growth for hydrographic survey equipment. The rise in investments made by major economies like India, China, and South Korea is one of the key factors driving the expansion of the hydrographic survey equipment market in the region.
The global hydrographic survey equipment market’s major key players are