Space Economy Horizontal and Vertical Markets – A Quick Overview

Horizontal and vertical markets are described in this article.

The purpose of this article is to provide a space economy specific example of horizontal and vertical markets. Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) will be used as the example as it has both a horizontal market and multiple vertical markets.

GNSS is also referred to as Positioning, Navigation and Timing (PNT).

Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS)

GNSS is a system of satellites and ground-based control stations that provide location and time information to users worldwide.

The most well-known GNSS is the Global Positioning System (GPS), which is operated by the United States government.

In addition to GPS, there are other GNSS systems operated by other countries or regional organizations, such as GLONASS (Russia), Galileo (European Union), BeiDou (China), and NavIC (India). These systems use similar principles to GPS and provide similar location and time information to users.

The GNSS works by using a network of satellites that orbit the Earth and broadcast signals to GNSS receivers on the ground. The receivers use the signals to determine their location and the current time. The system is based on a trilateration method, which involves measuring the time it takes for a signal to travel from a satellite to the receiver. By comparing the time it takes for the signals to reach the receiver from multiple satellites, the receiver can calculate its position with high accuracy.


GNSS Horizontal Market

As a horizontal market, GNSS consists of the satellites delivering location signals, and the physical devices which receive the signal. The physical devices are used across a wide range of industries.

The satellites delivering the location service are owned and operated by governments, and access to the signal is made available for free. To make use of the signal, a physical device must have a GNSS receiver capable of receiving and processing the signals.

The GNSS horizontal market is defined by the GNSS chipsets that enable the GNSS receiver capability. These chipsets are purchased by companies across a range of industries who produce physical devices incorporating the GNSS receiver capability.

The GNSS horizontal market size is defined as the value of the GNSS receiver capability of GNSS enabled devices.

GNSS Horizontal Market Company Examples

Broadcom, MediaTek, and Qualcomm are examples of vendors who operate in the GNSS horizontal market selling GNSS chipsets and modules to companies building devices for a wide range of vertical markets which are described in the next section.

GNSS receiver module

GNSS Vertical Markets

Global Navigation Satellite Systems are used in a wide range of vertical markets, which are industries or sectors that serve a specific market niche. Here are some examples of vertical markets that use GNSS:

  1. Agriculture: GNSS technology is used in precision farming to track and manage crops, livestock, and irrigation systems.
  2. Aviation: GNSS is used in navigation systems for aircraft to determine position, speed, and direction.
  3. Construction: GNSS technology is used to provide accurate positioning data for construction projects, including surveying and site preparation.
  4. Defense and military: GNSS is used in military applications for navigation, targeting, and tracking.
  5. Emergency services: GNSS is used by first responders in emergency situations to locate and rescue people in distress.
  6. Maritime: GNSS is used in navigation and tracking systems for ships and other vessels.
  7. Mining: GNSS is used in mining applications for tracking vehicles and equipment, monitoring production, and providing safety alerts.
  8. Surveying and mapping: GNSS is used in surveying and mapping applications to provide precise location data.
  9. Telecommunications: GNSS is used in telecommunications for network synchronization and timing.
  10. Transportation and logistics: GNSS is used in fleet management and logistics applications to track vehicles, manage routes, and optimize delivery schedules.

These are just some examples of the vertical markets that rely on GNSS technology. The applications for GNSS are expanding and evolving, and new vertical markets are emerging as the technology advances.

Note that the terminologies used for vertical markets will vary by vendor.

GNSS Vertical Markets Company Examples


Trimble is an example of a company that is entirely dependent upon the horizontal GNSS market to provide a foundation for their vertical markets customers. Trimble provides value added capabilities (e.g., hardware, software, service) to the GNSS signal and delivers applications for a wide range of vertical markets, including:

  • Geospatial
  • Construction
  • Agricultural
  • Transportation

The following diagram shows how Trimble leverages shared resources and common platforms allowing them to deliver industry specific solutions to vertical markets.

Source: Trimble


Many of Garmin’s products utilize GPS and other GNSS receivers to support product features such as navigation, global positioning, and tracking. Some of Garmin’s products utilize a combination of global navigation satellite systems to improve navigational fix, which results in improved accuracy.

Garmin GPS enabled smart watch
Source: Garmin

Garmin provides value added capabilities (e.g., hardware, software, service) to the GNSS signal and delivers applications for a wide range of vertical markets, including:

  • Fitness
  • Outdoor
  • Aviation
  • Automotive
  • Marine
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