Develop a software to facilitate the use of the Graphic Parcel Register

The Graphic Parcel Register, derived from farmers' CAP declarations, is one of the richest databases on agricultural territories.

Funded under the 2017 "Innovation" call for projects of LabEx BASC, the RPG Explorer Booster project (abbreviated as R&B) took place over 2 years (2017-2019).

Project leader: Philippe MARTIN (UMR SADAPT)

Managers of natural resources (water, biodiversity, etc.) such as local authorities or decentralized state services need information on the evolution of agricultural territories to evaluate and adjust their policies1. The information concerns the evolution of crop rotations, crop successions and farm parcels2. This information, integrated into biophysical models (i.e. nitrogen and carbon flows), makes it possible to assess the impact of current agricultural activities on natural resources. They also serve as a basis for scenarios of territorial evolution associated with public policy choices3.

The Graphic Parcel Register (RPG in French), derived from farmers' CAP declarations, is one of the richest databases on agricultural territories. It contains details of the crops grown each year on each parcel. We also know which plots are part of the same farm. The use of the RPG is, however, complex because it requires solid skills in Geographic Information System (GIS)  and in agronomy of the territories.

Visualisation du registre parcellaire graphique pour l'année 2013, superposé à l'orthoimagerie

Geoportal visualization of the 2013 Graphic Plot Register (National Institute of Geographic and Forestry Information)

In this logic, UMR SADAPT has developed a tool, RPG Explorer4, which facilitates the use of the RPG. RPG Explorer is a freely distributed software that allows to integrate RPG data into a local database (postgreSQL postGIS), to combine this information with others (watershed boundary, soil map) and to extract important information from it using easily configurable queries. In 2016, the tool was the subject of many requests both in research projects and for development (local authorities, consultancy firms). But at that time, RPG Explorer was only carried by its initiator (P. Martin) in collaboration with a private computer developer.

The R&B project (RPG Explorer Booster) allowed the hiring of an engineer for one year to work on the development of the tool, i.e. the reflection on the development of new modules, the testing of the new versions developed by the service provider, the organization of training, the assistance to users and the implementation in research programs.

The project involved the ADEME (Agency for Ecological Transition) and the OFB (French Office for Biodiversity), which financed the development of modules dedicated to the management of catchment areas for the OFB and to carbon assessment in territories with Territorial Climate Air Plans for the ADEME. The project also strongly involved Agro Transfert, which through the ABC'Terre research program developed a method for calculating the carbon footprint in agricultural areas, of which RPG Explorer is the first link.

logo ADEME
Logo Agro Transfert
Logo Ministère Agriculture et Alimentation






The R&B project doubled the number of requests to use the tool (from 150 to 300). It has also doubled the number of people trained in its use (from 67 to 130). Among the applicants, there is a great diversity of profiles: 35% communities/design offices, 26% education/research, 16% chambers of agriculture, 14% decentralized state services.

The project had a strong financial leverage effect since it allowed to obtain a new 2-year contract with the OFB. The contract also allowed the initiation of international collaborations around the use of equivalent databases to the RPG in Sweden, Italy and Spain. Finally, it has allowed the development of collaborations with the Ministry of Agriculture to work upstream on the format of RPG data as well as on the conditions of their distribution to users.

In 2020, RPG Explorer is the subject of new work with two main axes: direct use of the tool's outputs (online publication of the crop sequences calculated with RPG Explorer for the whole France over 2007-2018), and technical developments, the first of which is direct access to the tool via a web interface, operating from a server so that users are not limited by their computer capacity.

Oral communications

> Martin P., Martin L., Rizzo D., Marraccini E., 2018. Use of the French Land Parcel Identification System for inter farms new organization design. XV European Society for Agronomy Congress. August 27-31 2018 Geneva.

> LabEx BASC Scientific Days February 4, 2021:

==> The researcher explains the project and its RESULTS in VIDEO


1. Mignolet et al., 2007, Bretagnolle et al., 2011.

2. Bouty, 2015.

3. Thérond et al., 2009, Martin et al., 2014.

4. Levavasseur et al., 2016.

Modification date: 14 September 2023 | Publication date: 02 October 2018 | By: P. Martin