Over 40 million Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) receivers were shipped in 2005, but in 2011 the market will have grown to nearly 300 million shipments, according to a new study from ABI Research that tracks GNSS markets across eleven vertical industry segments.

That growth will not occur evenly across the board. In 2005, in-vehicle navigation systems accounted for just 26 percent of the total shipments, but 34 percent of worldwide GNSS hardware revenues. In 2011, in contrast, in-vehicle navigation shipments will represent just 16 percent of the total market, but will still deliver 29 percent of the hardware revenue.

Research director Frank Viquez says that the most significant trend, however, is the growing importance of the communication sector, almost entirely made up of GPS-enabled handsets. “In 2005, communications accounted for 43 percent of the total market in terms of shipments. In 2011 that will have grown to 69 percent, but the revenue derived from it will have doubled, from just 9 percent in 2005.” Much of that added growth will come from the mass uptake of GNSS services by the majority of the world’s mobile subscribers who use GSM handsets. As that trend develops, the fastest regional growth, which until now has been seen in North America and parts of Asia, will shift to Europe.

While communications will be the standout, and portable navigation—buoyed by falling prices and a flood of new offerings—will remain a strong and popular application, other sectors will show more modest gains. Garmin, TomTom, Magellan, Thales, Trimble and more specialized GNSS vendors, such as Rockwell Collins, Leica and Honeywell, will see a variety of expanding opportunities.

“Military applications will increase,” says Viquez, “especially driven by the military’s aggressive push to equip not just vehicles, but individual soldiers with GPS. Civil aviation will see some growth due to the increasing popularity of regional commuter and executive jets. The deployment of the European Galileo GNSS satellites will boost mapping and surveying applications as well: the more satellites in the sky, the greater the availability of the signal and the more accurate the location data it provides.” “Global Navigation Satellite Positioning Systems and Devices” examines all the end-use market segments for GPS/GNSS, and identifies individual market drivers and barriers for each.