Blue economy

Blue Economy

The Satellite Applications Catapult has identified the Blue Economy sector as a key area. The primary focus of this programme is to unlock the UK potential of satellite applications and services to facilitate delivery of end-to-end solutions in maritime applications.

Why the Blue Economy Matters

The Blue Economy is important to the UK, both economically and socially:

  • In the European Union, the maritime sector contributed €485 billion (gross value add) in 2012, equivalent to 5.4 million jobs. This is predicted to grow to $590 billion and 7 million jobs by 2020.
  • In the UK, the maritime sector contributes £3.1 billion to UK GDP and £8.5 billion in tax revenue. In 2012, the global maritime market size was estimated to be €1.2 trillion**.
  • In the EU, 23 out of 28 states have a coastline*; the combined coastline being seven times longer than that of the USA. There is more sea than land under the jurisdiction of EU member states.

Satellite Applications in the Blue Economy

Satellites already play a key role in supporting maritime operations as no other technology can provide communications and real-time monitoring in the remote regions of the world’s oceans. Consequently, there are many opportunities for growth of satellite-derived applications and solutions.

The UK is uniquely placed to succeed in this sector. The country has a great nautical history and many of the global maritime organisational headquarters are based here. Alongside this, there is already considerable activity in the maritime satellite applications field among UK industry and academia, which are both very capable of offering innovative solutions.

Satellite technologies can offer end-to-end solutions, giving a holistic view. The Catapult can act as a catalyst in this highly segmented market and is helping to facilitate collaborations between industry, academia, regulators and government to broaden market opportunities, addressing address wider, cross-segment challenges.

Technology Focus

The Catapult is focussing its attention on working with end-users, industry and academia in two specific technology areas:

  1. Building a data integration and situational awareness software platform that brings together the best technologies in data acquisition, data management, data analysis, information publishing, dissemination, visualisation and interaction design into a reusable technology stack with associated documentation. We will make this available to UK business to rapidly prototype and deliver solutions.
  2. Building a cloud that consists of all of the technologies, standards, mechanisms and expertise needed to deliver better knowledge-centric applications into the maritime domain. This includes incremental improvements to communications infrastructures (such as hybrid terrestrial/satellite technologies) and improved application design patterns allowing better use of the infrastructure that already exists.

Get Involved

If you would like more information, or to discuss opportunities, please email:

The Catapult is running a series of workshops in the maritime domain – you can find details in our events section.

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