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The RSPO Independent Smallholder Standard (ISH) 2019 requires some Independent Smallholders to submit land mapping data to support the information entered in their Disclosure Form, which is required as part of the Membership process led by the Group Manager. After the Disclosure Form has been submitted and reviewed by the RSPO Secretariat, if land mapping data is needed, the RSPO will reach out to you and request it.

Preparing to apply for ISH Membership? Learn about the member application process and view the Disclosure Form.

What land mapping data is needed?

Land mapping data that outlines areas cleared without prior High Conservation Value (HCV) assessment after November 2005.

What will the land mapping data be used for?

The land mapping data, along with information in your Disclosure Form, will be used for the Land-Use Change Analysis (LUCA) portion of the RSPO Remediation and Compensation Procedure (RaCP). For more information on the RaCP, visit RSPO Remediation and Compensation page.

RSPO will thoroughly review and cross-check submitted land mapping data including vector files, attributes and other information against the information provided in the Disclosure Form.

How to collect land mapping data for smallholders

The RSPO created a simple Smallholder Land Mapping Data Step-by-Step Guide to walk you through how to create the required mapping data. This guide is created for those who have submitted their Disclosure Forms as part of the Membership process and the RSPO has requested map data.

Have you already produced land mapping data? Do you need to redo it?

No. If your smallholder group has already produced your own land mapping data in .shp, .kmz or .kml formats, you may submit these. If your mapping data is in another file format, please create new mapping data using our Smallholder Land Mapping Data Step-by-Step Guide below.

What file formats are accepted?

The RSPO accepts map data in .kmz, .kml and .shp file formats.

Smallholder Land Mapping Data Step-by-Step Guide

Step 1
Determine which smallholders need to submit mapping data
Step 2
Collect mapping data
Step 3
Confirm accuracy of mapping data
Step 4
Prepare mapping data for submission
Step 5
Submit land mapping data to RSPO

Step 1

Determine which smallholders need to submit mapping data

In your group you may have a mix of different smallholders — some who have just started out, and others who have been around for some time. After you have submitted your Disclosure Form, the RSPO Secretariat will inform you which smallholders need to submit Smallholder Mapping Data. Note which smallholders need to submit this information and move to the next step.

How does RSPO determine which smallholders need to submit mapping data?


conducted land clearance

on or after 1st November 2005

without prior High Conservation Value (HCV) assessment.

Here is an example with 7 smallholders:


Has the smallholder conducted land clearance?

When was the land cleared?

Was the land cleared on or after 1st Nov 2005?

Was an HCV assessment conducted?

When was the HCV assessment conducted?

Land mapping data required







Jan 2020


No land cleared before HCV assessment. LUCA not required.



Jan 2004



Jan 2005


Land clearance occurred before 1st Nov 2005, LUCA not required.



Oct 2005





Land clearance occurred before 1st Nov 2005, LUCA not required.



Jan 2015



Jan 2013


Though the land was cleared after 1st Nov 2005, it was done after an HCV assessment was completed. LUCA is not required.



Jan 2019



Jan 2020


Land clearance occurred on or after 1st Nov 2005 without prior HCV assessment.

LUCA required. Smallholders should submit a kmz file.



Nov 2005







Feb 2020





Step 2

Collect Mapping Data

What you will need for this step and the next:

  • GPS device (e.g. Garmin, Trimble, etc.)
  • Computer with the free software Google Earth Pro installed — download and install Google Earth Pro (free).

OBJECTIVE: Track data on the boundaries of smallholders’ plots. Smallholders or data collectors simply need to use a GPS device and walk/drive along the boundaries of their plot to “draw” a track around it.

Example of a three plots with a track:

How to collect data with a GPS device

Screenshots below are from the Garmin GPSMAP® 64s and are shown as examples only. Your screens may look different.


Set up GPS device

Set up your GPS device as follows:

  1. Set projection and datum to GCS WGS 84

  2. Wait for NAV status to change from “2D” to “3D” on your GPS device before proceeding to Step 2


Track the boundary of the plot

Set up your GPS device to record the track, then walk/drive around the legal boundary of the plot

Each smallholder boundary should be one track

❗ Note: Make sure the track recorded is as close to the boundary recorded in the legal documents as possible

Can we map out plots in Google Earth Pro instead of a GPS device?

Yes. However, this is only recommended for those who are familiar with using Google Earth Pro and have the exact GPS coordinates for each plot.

Using the GPS coordinates and referring to the legal documents, they should map out the smallholder plot boundary as a polygon via Google Earth Pro.

The information required in Steps 3-5 must still be inserted. Please visit these links for more information on how to do this:


Step 3

Confirm accuracy of mapping data

Plot boundary data should be imported into Google Earth Pro. Please note important RSPO requirements during this process in the steps below.

Screenshots below (Step 3 and 4) are from the Google Earth Pro (free) and are shown as examples only.


Download and install Google Earth Pro (free) here.



Import your data:

  • Open Google Earth Pro

  • Go to “Tools” and select “GPS"

  • Once the “GPS Import” window opens: 

    • Select “Import” tab 

    • Under “Device”: Select the device used e.g. 

      • If you have used a Garmin or Magellan device: Select “Garmin” or “Magellan”

      • Other devices: Select “Import from file”

    • Under “Import”: Select “Tracks”

    • Under “Output”: Select “KML Tracks” 

    • Select “Adjust altitudes to ground height”

    • Click “Import”.


Check and adjust track data for accuracy:

  • Once the files are imported, you should see a list of your collected tracks on the left

  • When you click any of these tracks, you should be able to see (on your right screen) the tracks drawn on the maps in yellow lines  

  • ❗Check that the track matches the boundary and hectarage listed in the legal documents as closely as possible* (maximum variance of 0.05 ha). If not, edit the track (instructions below).

*If the boundaries in the legal documents do not match the current plot boundary:

  • The legal documents should be updated, or

  • A signed document should be obtained from a local authority certifying or confirming the latest boundary and hectarage

Editing track information:

  1. Right-click on the track you wish to adjust under “Places”

  2. Choose “Properties” (on PC) or “Get Info” (on Mac)

  3. An “Edit Polygon” window will appear. On the map, you will see that the track now has small red dots (called nodes).

To view hectarage of this plot: 

  • In the window, click “Measurements” tab

  • Under Perimeter, select “Kilometres”

  • Under Area, select “Hectares” 

  • Your hectarage for the track will be displayed 

  • Check that your hectarage matches your legal documents as closely as possible (maximum variance of 0.05ha).

To edit the track:

  • Keep the “Edit Polygon” window open and move your mouse to the track displayed on the right

  • Mouse over any of the nodes (cursor will turn green) and click-and-drag to reshape the track


Check for any overlaps between plot boundaries.

Select all tracks and check carefully for any overlaps of the boundaries between plots

This ensures correct plot size and ensures that the correct smallholder holds the responsibility in the event of remediation, compensation, fire, or misconduct over the overlapped area.

Example of overlapping boundaries (blue dotted line, and yellow line)

Note for Smallholders close to or next to Protected Areas*:

Smallholders whose plots do not overlap with a protected area but are close to or next to one need to take extra caution to ensure their boundaries are drawn correctly.

*Protected areas include: national parks, or other protected areas as defined by national, regional or local law, or as specified in National Interpretations.

You may download the latest protected area/HCV1-3 maps for your region by following the instructions below: 

  1. Visit GeoRSPO 

  2. Click “Show Description”

  1. Under “HCV 1-3 Probability Maps”, download the map for your region

For more information, contact smallholder@rspo.org.

Step 4

Prepare mapping data for submission


Right click on a track you wish to edit. Select “Properties” (on PC) or “Get Info” (on Mac).


The “Edit” window will appear.

❗IMPORTANT: All entries must be romanised/alphabetised or written in its English equivalent

  • Under “Name” (red box), type the plot name using this format: Smallholder Name {Plot Identifier}Notes: “Name” must be the same one used in your Disclosure form

    • Your name must also be unique. If one smallholder has more than one plot, add an additional letter or number e.g Ahmad A, Ahmad B, Ahmad C

    • Plot Identifier is your own unique code for each smallholder.

  • In “Description” (blue box), depending on which of the following scenarios is applicable, fill the text box below it with the following information:

    • IMPORTANT:❗All information must match information declared in the Disclosure Form

      • Group’s name (e.g.: Group Smallholder A)
      • Farmer’s name (e.g.: John Doe)
      • Size of the area in hectares (e.g.: 0.5ha) (Make sure it matches your legal title hectarage as closely as possible with maximum variance of 0.05 ha.)
      • Planting month and year (e.g.: Nov 2001)
      • Average FFB/year, if applicable (e.g.: 5 tonnes/year)
      • Partner Mills, if any (e.g.: Mill A)
      • Click “OK” to save
      • Repeat for remaining tracks.


Place all edited tracks into one folder

  1. Create the folder by right clicking the main folder that holds all your tracks. In this example: Temporary Place > Add > Folder

  2. Label it with your Smallholder Group name

  3. Drag the edited tracks under this folder.


Save folder as a .kmz file format by right clicking the group folder > Save Place As... > “.kmz file”

You can also save as .kml file, both are acceptable.

Step 5

Submit land mapping data to RSPO

Before you submit your land mapping data to the RSPO Secretariat, please ensure Steps 1 to 4 are completed accurately — otherwise review of your submission may be delayed.

Once you have checked all of the above, submit your mapping data to:

The RSPO will review your files and thoroughly check the data in your submission including vectors, attributes and other information, as well as cross-check the data against the information entered in your Disclosure form.

If file submission has been completed with sufficient information, it will be processed for:

  1. Membership purposes
  2. Land Use Change Analysis (LUCA) purposes — you will receive a report for your action.

How long will the review take?

Depending on the size of the area/ expansion, whether your Disclosure Form has been reviewed and the accuracy of the map data submitted, the LUCA report should be delivered to the independent smallholders between 30 — 60 working days after the submission. During the analysis period, independent smallholders may be contacted for more information.

Ongoing maintenance

Smallholder groups must update their Disclosure Form and repeat this mapping data process on a yearly basis (preferably three months before the surveillance audit) if there are:

  • New members
  • Members who have new plantings or have acquired new land.

IMPORTANT: If you are an existing certified smallholder group and have new planting from November 2019, you must also comply with additional processes in the Independent Smallholder - Land Use Risk Identification (IS-LURI). Please refer to the IS-LURI Guidance document for steps on how to complete this in compliance with ISH 2019 criteria 4.3.

Questions? Contact smallholders@rspo.org.