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Surveying and mapping services, 2016

Released: 2017-11-21

Surveying and mapping service industries, which includes geophysical and non-geophysical surveying and mapping, decreased in 2016 for a second consecutive year. Operating revenue for these industries fell 17.0% to $2.0 billion, following a 20.4% decline in 2015.

Alberta, which accounted for 37.2% of the total operating revenue for these combined industries in 2016, was heavily affected by the decrease in oil and gas prices. The operating revenue of surveying and mapping firms in Alberta was down 35.5% from 2015, and since 2014 has fallen 54.3%.

Ontario had the second largest share of operating revenue (23.4%), followed by Quebec (16.2%) and British Columbia (12.5%).

In 2016, surveying and mapping service industries reported $1.8 billion in operating expenses, down 17.6% from the previous year. This resulted in a profit margin of 9.4%, up from 8.8% in 2015.

The largest expense item—salaries, wages, commissions and benefits—represented 50.3% ($895.9 million) of total operating expenses in 2016, and was down 15.8% from the previous year.

Sales to the business sector accounted for 67.7% of total sales in 2016. The remaining client base was split among individuals and households (13.2%), governments, non-profit organizations and public institutions (11.6%) and clients outside Canada (7.5%).

Geophysical surveying and mapping services, characterized by locating and measuring the extent of sub-surface resources, represented 20.0% of industry sales in 2016. Industry sales from non-geophysical surveying and mapping services, which focus on the earth's surface (including the sea floor), accounted for 69.3% of sales, while the remaining 10.8% came from the provision of other goods and services, including geographic information system development and customization.

  Note to readers

Data for 2014 and 2015 have been revised.

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