ETS Documentation

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Executive summary

The quality assurance framework of LPIS is an integral part of LPIS management and upkeep processes. In this framework, the LPIS of a MS/Region is regarded as a system under test (SUT), which is composed of two major components: the local application schema and the data records stored in the system. The so called Executable Test Suite (ETS) targets at the data component by annually assessing conformity according to Article 6 of (EU) Regulation No 640/2014.

For data testing, the high level requirements (abstract test cases) are explicitly provided by Article 6 of (EU) Regulation No 640/2014. For simplicity and historic reasons, the abstract and executable test cases are merged into a single workflow and are referred to as ETS. The ETS proposed by DG JRC can be directly implemented by all MS/Regions. The conformance testing procedure is based on data quality assessment according to ISO 19157:2013 (Geographic information – Data quality) and ISO 2859-2:1985 (Sampling procedures for inspection by attributes, Part 2: Sampling plans indexed by limiting quality (LQ) for isolated lot inspection).

These standards are used to define the data quality measures, the prescribed sample sizes, and the acceptance numbers for the quality measures. These elements together with the basic concepts (inspected item, critical defect, observed area, contamination, and land cover classification according to MS eligibility profile) are detailed in the LPIS QA documentation, comprising a set of technical guidance documents (TG population, TG MTS, ETS Annexes, etc..) given in ETS Downloads and a structured list of the wikiCAP support pages.

The technical guidance (TG) on Model Test Suite (MTS v.2.0) can be found on TG MTS. The correspondent reporting schemas for the MTS can be found on MTS Downloads

July 2016

The needs for update in the quality assessment methodology were triggered by:

  • EU Member state feedback (as usual)
  • Introduction of the new MTS
  • Bilateral communication with AGRI (D3)
  • Findings from the GTCAP
  • External input

Revisions made in the ETS (v6.1) NO NOT affect the inspection procedure itself. They can be summarized in the following 3 groups:

1. Additions to the instructions for the new elements in ETS 6.0

  • for better consistency and clarity of both inspection and reporting
  • to reduce the loop of answering bilateral questions
  • to remove further bias in results

2. Workarounds in the ETS procedure

  • to accommodate methodological limitations, especially with respect to the discrimination of temporal/permanent grassland

3. Adaptations required by the new Model Test Suite (MTS) and the revised scoping approach, related to

  • general conditions for CD/waivers (including new elements)
  • causes for non-conformity
  • LUI and ETS reference area definitions

Furthermore, the organization of the ETS documentation has being reverted to the “old style” ETS based on a combination of static annexes (I, II and III) and dynamic Wiki content. The terminology used was further adapted to provide consistency with the provisions of the new CAP regulation, especially with respect to some cross-cutting issues between CAP pillars I and II.

With respect to reporting and delivery, the major change is the abolishment of any particular deadline for the uploading of the LPIS QA population by the EU MS. However, the LPIS QA imagery acquired by JRC, is still delivered to the MS administrations together with their sample pre-selection as a bundle, which means that the source imagery can be obtained only after a valid population upload is made. The deadline for the production of the assessment report remains January 31st, 2017 as laid down in the Regulations.

General and Inspection - related

edits/revisions from version 6.0 2015

  • The definition of the skipping code C4 has been revised to reflect the IDQA outcome of the dedicated LPIS QA imagery. See ETS presentation from Baveno 2016.
  • References in the text for the new MTS log and IXIT have been provided.
  • Clarification on the reporting of absolute values has been provided for the area-based conformity check (RP_CNF).
  • Workaround has been proposed for those cases when differentiation between permanent grassland and arable land is not possible from a single orthoimage. New temporal code for herbaceous vegetation (HV) was introduced in MML of the eligibility profile. See ETS presentation from Baveno 2016.
  • Rules for attribution of eligible landscape features to the given agriculture land cover category have been clarified.
  • The observation “no eligible area found” was considered as representing one single weakness only (being a critical defect)
  • General conditions for the occurrence of critical defects have been defined in IXIT terms and clearly separated from the local condition. The rules themselves remained unchanged.
  • Rules for the CD "incomplete block" have been further clarified. See ETS presentation from Baveno 2016.
  • General conditions for the use of waivers have been revised to accommodate the inputs from the MTS-log (IXIT and Module M11)
  • Instructions for the categorization of the non-conforming reference parcels have been revised to accommodate the inputs from the MTS-log (IXIT and MTS-log in general). The indicative and non-exhaustive character of the action list was explicitly clarified.

edits/revisions following the inputs from the IACS workshop – May 2016

  • The following updated were made after the latest revisions of TG population guidance (Annex IX) and the extension of LPIS QA scope to all RP that are declared by any holding that applies for area based direct payments:
    • The term “reference area” has been changed to “etsReferenceArea”
    • The scope has been revised in order to ensure differentiation in the reporting and assessment of declared parcels for aid (SAPS/BPS) and for other uses.
    • A new quality measure “LPIS land classification error RP (10202_3)” has been added to accommodate the separate reporting (as individual quality element) of the classification correctness test in the ETS assessment report
    • Local conditions for critical defect “Total absence of agriculture land” have been revised. The scope for this CD has been extended to cover all RPs that are declared by the holding

edits/revisions following the additional inputs received from the EU Member States after circulation of drafts on Circa @20160623

  • Skipping code A3 clarified; it relates to the persistency of the thematic RP ID (TG update guidance)
  • Clarifications and updates made on the inventory of the landscape features to be in line with the TG LPIS population (Annex IX)
  • A waiver “E” was introduced in the classification correctness test to address those non-conformities where agriculture land cover polygons coded as HV and wholly attributed to either AL or PG, in reality refer to an evidenced combination of AL and PG that on the reference imagery could not be separately delineated.

edits/revisions from version 6.0 2015

  • The definition of the LUI has been revised to accommodate the temporal adjudication of eligible landscape features associated with the reference parcel, following the TG population (ETS Annex IX). See ETS presentation from Baveno 2016.
  • The procedure for skipping in case simultaneous use of VHR and national aerial orthoimagery has been clarified.
  • The rules for adjudication of eligible landscape features to the particular agricultural land cover category have been clarified.

edits/revisions following the inputs from the IACS workshop – May 2016

  • Diagram on Figure 1 was updated (box II5)
  • The references to ICS in the text have been removed

edits/revisions following the additional inputs received from the EU Member States

  • References to provisions in EU CAP regulation have been revised
  • The whole document has been revised in order to provide consistency with respect to the use of the terms “agriculture land” and “agriculture area”

edits/revisions from version 6.0 2015

  • New code HV for generic herbaceous vegetation category is introduced, for cases when it is factually impossible in the ETS to classify and attribute an observed herbaceous vegetation to either AL or PG.
  • The LCCS definition of permanent grassland (self-seed or sown) has been revised and simplified from the point of view of LCCS syntax.
  • The 50 trees/ha assumption was upgraded to 100 trees/ha

edits/revisions following the inputs from the IACS workshop – May 2016

  • The scope of the land subject to EU CAP has been widened to include both 1st and 2nd pillars
  • Text has been amended to accommodate the change in the LPIS QA scope and the clarifications introduced in relation to agriculture area and eligibility. Further clarification on the land cover/land use concept have been made
  • Text has been revised in accordance with the workflow given in the new TG MTS. Clarifications were made that the subject of ETS inspection is the agriculture land that serve as basis for the calculation of the maximum eligible area
  • The scope of the ICS has been revised and clarified in the light of the new MTS

edits/revisions following the additional inputs received from the EU Member States

  • The complete document has been revised in order to provide consistency with respect to the use of the terms “agriculture land” and “agriculture area”
  • The new minimum mapping entry for herbaceous vegetation (HV) has been updated

Further clarifications provided in the text to emphasize that code HV is applicable only in those cases where proper classification and attribution to either AL or PG is impossible.

edits/revisions from version 6.0 2015

  • Clarification has been made in the light of proper segregation of duties between the ETS control and LPIS update.
  • Evaluation method type has been revised.

Publishing (WikiCAP)

  • Some last minute typing errors spotted in some Annexes and XML schemas. See Errata page at the end.
  • WikiCAP, point 1.2 (ETS Scope): Text revised in line with the TG Population (Annex IX)
  • WikiCAP, point 1.3 (Data Structure): Text revised in line with the TG Population (Annex IX)
  • WikiCAP, point 1.3.1 (LpisPointZeroState examples): Examples of different scenarios for the reporting of the etsReferenceArea were provided
  • WikiCAP, point 1.4 (RP sampling and zone selection): Sample pre-selection process clarified. Diagram 2 refined in accordance with ETS reporting of conformance classes 1 and 2
  • WikiCAP, point 1.5.1 (Inspection workflow): Inspection procedure made in line with text in Annex II
  • WikiCAP, point 1.5.2 (Inspection variants): Reference to the former UML-based activity diagrams from the LCM were removed. Relevant WikiCAP pages with the UML-based activity diagrams were deleted.
  • WikiCAP, point 1.5.3 (Data maintenance): Text refined in line with the elements from MTS 2.0
  • WikiCAP, point 1.6 (Conformance statements): Practical guidelines for the establishment of the acceptance numbers were reintroduced. The data scope and denominators for each quality measure were explained in separate table (Table 4).
  • WikiCAP, point 1.7 (Delivery): Some missing files from the ETS packages were re-introduced in the package item list. Further explanations were provided for some of them
  • WikiCAP, point 1.7.1 (non-structured evidence): Optional provision of non-structured evidence whenever found relevant was re-introduced.
  • WikiCAP, point 2.1 (Examples)
    • Examples for critical defect were refined
    • RP inspection example was re-arranged
    • QE6 calculation example was clarified
    • ETS screening examples were refined
  • WikiCAP, point 2.3 (Tools):
    • The tools for generation of LPIS point and LPIS polygon zero state were updated
    • GML examples were revised
    • Orthoimage-related XDS were revised and clarrified
  • WikiCAP, point 2.6 (Questions and answers): New page with Q&A introduced
  • WikiCAP, point 3 (Downloads): Link and entries were updated to ETS 6.1
  • WikiCAP, point 4 (Errata): New entries provided

NOTE: All important edits and revisions from ETS 6.0 to ETS 6.1, as well as all resulted modifications/additions in the Chapter 1 and Chapter 2 articles of WikiCAP are highlighted in Maroon colour. This includes any modifications in the wiki articles needed to ensure consistency between the WikiCAP pages and the ETS Annexes.


ETS schemas - last uploads are available on the LPIS Registry

  • QualityReportMetadata schema example – Text in <evaluationMethodDescription> revised.
  • OrthoimagerySet.xsd - Revised in accordance with the updates in CTS 2016
  • NonConformity.xsd - association between the non-conformities reported and the RPs affected was re-established
  • LpisSamplePreselectionStatus.xsd – name of element <luiInterpretationImpossibleWithGivenOrthoimageC4> changed to <artifactOrthoimageOrLandUnrelatedAnomalyC4>
  • EtsObservations.xsd - Annotation "obsolete from 2016" was added to RP_CEA
  • EtsObservations.xsd, RP_CRA_Type – Element <totalAbsenceOfEligibleFeatures> renamed to <totalAbsenceOfAgriculturalArea>
  • EtsObservations.xsd, RP_CLS_Type – The complex element <ClassificationCorrectnessType> was upgraded to accommodate the waiver concept introduced.
  • EtsAggregationTable.xsd – Element <xs:element name="rpID" type="xs:string" minOccurs="1" maxOccurs="unbounded"/> changed to <xs:element name="rpID" type="xs:string" minOccurs="2" maxOccurs="unbounded"/>
  • LpisSamplePreselectionStatus.xsd – Element <belongsToQC_Sample> renamed <wasSubjectToEts>
  • LpisPointZeroState.xsd - Introduction of the AL/PG/PG recorded area values
  • All ETS schemas - <ReferenceArea> will be changed to <etsReferenceArea>
  • LpisCommonTypes.xsd and Waivers.xsd - Waiver E was added.
  • Relevant XML examples were revised to reflect the above-mentioned updates.



The importance of the LPIS comes from the requirement that it must channel all area based aids; the corresponding financial value exceeded €40bn for 2012 (see item 05.03 on pages 17-18) and 2013. It concerned in 2013 around 7.40 million beneficiaries ([1]). For this specific purpose, LPIS quality can roughly be defined as the ability of the system to fulfill two explicit LPIS functions:

  1. the unambiguous localisation of all declared agricultural parcels by farmer and inspectors,
  2. and the quantification of all eligible area for crosschecks during the administrative controls by the paying agency.

Failure of an LPIS in the unambiguous localisation induces risks for double declaration of land. Inadequate quantification of eligible area renders the crosschecks ineffective for preventing and identifying over-declarations by farmers. Both failures involve financial risks for the EU Funds.

Furthermore, any well functioning LPIS greatly facilitates operations by farmers, inspectors and paying agencies, resulting in a better overall performance. Obviously, a better LPIS substantially improves IACS effectiveness and management of EU Funds.

Quality Assurance

Figure 1: quality concepts

Both Member States and the EU have therefore a keen interest in demonstrating the quality of the LPIS and in addressing quality issues, if any. Such processes of planned and systematic quality demonstration form the hearth of a quality assurance (QA) system. A QA framework relies on mutually agreed quality testing between “consumer” (the European Commission) and “supplier” (the Member State). A test or series of tests assesses compliance for each specified quality requirement.

A distinction is made between “prime” and “secondary” quality elements. The prime elements are those that the European Commission considers fundamental for a correct LPIS operation. They are applicable to all LPIS systems. Secondary quality elements might not be applicable for all systems, but may provide additional input for analysing and remediating issues identified on the prime quality elements.

The Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) No 640/2014 calls for an annual reporting on the six prime quality elements grouped into two conformance classes. For each quality element, one or more measures, the inspection procedure and conformance levels have been designed.

A former discussion document has been elaborated in 2011 on these LPIS properties and the reasons why they are essential for a good functioning. It also proposed a methodology to implement and integrate an adequate quality policy in the regulatory framework. The main application of this quantitative information is to provide an instrument for achieving business process improvement. Essentially, this quality assurance framework constitutes a yearly check-step within the commonly known plan-do-check-act (PDCA) cycle.



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