RPA extends digital map pilot to 1,000 farms

The Rural Payments Agency has extended a pilot online service to allow 1,000 farmers and agents to view their land details on a digital map.

The Rural Land Register map viewer is a forerunner to the fully online service to be launched by DEFRA in 2014-15 for payment schemes under the new CAP.

An RPA spokeswoman said: “The viewer offers access to the most up-to-date maps of a farmer’s land holdings along with Ordnance Survey mapping and aerial photography.

“Users will also be able to search for fields and map sheets, to draw lines and measure areas as well as print maps to support land change requests to the RPA.”

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The system has been undergoing small-scale tests. But it has been rolled out to 1,000 businesses after a positive survey of users revealed that 88% of farmers and 100% of agents would recommend the viewer. More than two-thirds (68%) rated their experience as four out of five and “completely satisfied with the experience”.

The agency’s information and technology director, Ed Schofield, added: “More than half of our customers now apply for their Single Payment Scheme payments online and we are working hard to support the rest to make this important change.

“In line with central government ambitions, we are committed to reducing costs and improving customer service by offering more and better digital options.

“This new viewer is quick, simple and in time will help improve the accuracy of the data we hold, which in turn will ensure fast and accurate payments to our customers.”

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