In the winegrowing sector, digital parcels of land represent an important aspect of digitalization.

At the 2021 edition of SITEVI, the Chaire d’entreprise AgroTIC delivered a talk on the different definitions and uses of digital parcel mapping for viticulture. Take a look at eight digital parcel mapping techniques and their specific goals.

About Chaire AgroTIC

The Chaire d’entreprise AgroTIC is a company-funded project bringing together 27 firms around issues relating to digital tech in farming. The project is driven by Institut Agro Montpellier and Bordeaux Sciences Agro. Under the aegis of the Institut Agro’s foundation, the chair pursues several goals:

  • Share important information on digital tech in farming,
  • Analyse new technologies and its use opportunities in farming,
  • Identify skills and initiate collaborative networks.

In this framework, the Chaire AgroTIC led a working group which looked into digital parcel mapping (parcellaire numérique in French).

What is digital parcel mapping?

The term digital parcel mapping is used to refer to the computerised representation of the geographical characteristics of farming and winegrowing parcels.

Good to know

The Registre Parcellaire Graphique (RPG – graphic parcel register) was put in place to support the deployment of the CAP. It encompasses all the agricultural parcels declared since 2015. However, this repository does not apply to winegrowing parcels, as these include spaces in which operators circulate around and between the vines.

Digital parcel mapping enables public administrations to examine applications for the granting of subsidies (CAP or FranceAgrimer) to farmers and winegrowers. Data is processed in different ways for the CAP and for FranceAgrimer aid. In the latter case, the organisation checks parcels directly on the ground once it has received the subsidy request from the winegrower. Contrary to the free access agricultural parcel map available on IGN, the data relating to winegrowing parcels cannot be consulted. In addition to these uses, digital parcel mapping can also be used for declarative data (harvesting), the technical and economic management of the estate, operation traceability, etc. Each use today has a different definition of digital parcel mapping.

There are eight categories of parcel mapping, each with their own specificities and precise uses.

Type 1 – Precise parcel mapping

This is the parcel mapping carried out directly by FranceAgrimer as part of its examination of winegrowers’ subsidy applications. An inspector conducts this measurement on site. The data collected include planting year, grape variety, root stock and the parcel’s planting density. This type of mapping calls for the use of a GNSS receiver and a GIS program.

Type 2 – Quick parcel mapping

This mapping is based on outlining the area on an IGN or Google map. The associated descriptors depend on the information that the company or client has. This type of parcel mapping is much less accurate than type 1, but it remains particularly well-used for its convenience and cost-effectiveness.

Type 3 – CVI parcel mapping (Casier viticole informatisé)

CVI parcel mapping (CVI standing for computerised winegrowing record) is carried out from the cadastre, and enables winegrowers to submit their declarations to the French customs administration. It includes several descriptors such as the planting year, root stock, planting density and grape variety. When farmers do not have the type 1 or 2 mapping solution, they can always use the type 3 parcel mapping solution to coordinate their estate. All winegrowers own at least one parcel mapping solution in this category.

Type 4 – Plant-edge parcel mapping

Type 4 is akin to type 1 mapping before the buffer zone is added. The aim is to mitigate edge effects which may distort the reading or interpretation of aerial images. This type is rarely used by winegrowers.

Type 5 – Parcel mapping with headland

In type 5 parcel mapping, the full cultivable surface area including headland and parcel edges is measured. This parcel mapping principle is mainly used for administrative purposes.

Type 6 – Row and vine mapping

Primarily intended for specific uses (such as machine guidance or the monitoring of vine diseases), type 6 mapping is conducted using a GNSS receiver. The start and end vine of each row must be recorded, making this a very accurate mapping system.

Type 7 – PAC parcel mapping

The type 7 parcel mapping system is rarely used in winegrowing, as it applies to row crops and helps to calculate the surface area benefiting from CAP subsidies. The parcel’s actual farmed area is recorded here.

Type 8 – Intra-parcel mapping

Intra-parcel mapping defines several zones inside the same winegrowing parcel. These homogeneous groups can then be used to deploy advanced technical solutions. Type 8 mapping is still rarely used in winegrowing.

In all these cases, it is essential to associate certain descriptors with the parcel mapping solution so that the latter is relevant and usable. The main descriptors selected as fundamental are grape variety, root stock, planting year and plant density between rows and between vines.

Limitations of digital parcel mapping

No standards exist today to govern parcel surveying methods, which can lead to inaccurate data. Given that this data in the winegrowing sector is mainly collected by private companies, it is also possible that work is duplicated, resulting in wasted time and money for the client. Finally, for files to be usable, they must come in a specific format (.shp or .kml). And yet, farmers are often delivered a pdf file, which considerably restricts its usefulness.

In view of the pitfalls of digital parcel mapping in winegrowing, this notion is not yet fully mastered. Nevertheless, it is of decisive strategic importance for the future of the whole sector. The first step should be that the administrative authorities share their data and provide access to winegrowers. Next, generating these different parcel maps should be easier to do, why not at time of planting? Finally, general awareness is also an important factor, which is specifically one of the missions of the Chaire d’entreprise AgroTIC, and one of the goals of its talk at SITEVI. To find out more, a detailed document published by the Chaire d’entreprise AgroTIC has been posted online for professionals to read (in French)

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