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About the National Institute of Geographic and Forest Information

About the National Institute of Geographic and Forest Information (IGN)

IGN is the official reference for geographic and forest information in France, certified to be neutral and interoperable. The institute is constantly developing new reference databases, products and geoservices, to meet the country's growing and changing needs for map data and geographic information.


As a powerful public institute providing digital technology to describe the French territory, IGN helps define, evaluate and implement public policies in various fields and has particular expertise on forest issues.

Main activities

      • Risk prevention | Numerical modelling, development of monitoring tools (floods, earthquake zones, landslides), etc.
      • Forest, environment and agriculture | National forest inventory, publication of sustainable forest management indicators, development of the nature and landscape information system, studies on forest availability, monitoring and evaluation of sea levels and changes in the coastline, etc.
      • Land-use planning, urban planning and urban management | Development of analysis services, monitoring of consumption of natural, forest and agricultural areas, city asset and infrastructure mapping, development of data and service infrastructure for managing road travel, etc.
      • Defence, security and space | Programming and processing of satellite and aerial images, annual coverage of the entire French territory (SPOT 6 and 7 satellites), stereoscopic observation of key areas, etc.

Géoportail - The people’s portal to France

Built with openness and data sharing in mind, Géoportail facilitates access to official geographic information. The portal is constantly enhanced with data and provides access to numerous themes and information layers of interest to the general public.



IGN's five inter-regional agencies work in collaboration with the local authorities. Through regional programming committees, the goal is to build an annual programme that meets local needs by identifying synergies and pooling production efforts, while ensuring national consistency with the Institute's strategy.

The partnership approach in the French territories

The production of certain products or services is funded through partnerships that allocate contributions between IGN and local authorities. These take various forms: co-production, grants and technical assistance from IGN.


Some examples of Geoservices developed by IGN to facilitate the use of spatial data.

      • MesAdresses.ign.fr | In just a few clicks, users can geocode a list of mailing addresses, display them on a map and share the results with others.
      • MaCarte.ign.fr | Easily make a personalized online interactive map.
      • MonGéoportail.ign.fr | Host and distribute localized information with a high level of performance.
      • Guichet-adresse.ign.fr | Online management tool that allows municipalities and public agencies to help improve the National Address Database.
      • RemonterLeTemps.ign.fr | A portal to delve into the past and compare the development of French territories over time.

Projects to modernize public action

Several IGN projects were selected under the Investments for the Future Programme. The objective of these mapping tools is to simplify the online administrative procedures set up by the government.

      • A Geodatabase on establishments open to the public | With this project, IGN provides tools and web services that people can use collaboratively to list all establishments open to the public in France and add relevant data (hours, reports, disabled accessibility, etc.).
      • API Carto: for simplified online administrative procedures | This software component offers processing and calculation web services that can be used by public agencies to easily retrieve geolocatable information requested in administrative procedures. The aim is threefold: make the procedures more reliable, simpler and faster.


Innovation is a core strategy of IGN through its five research laboratories, its school, its project accelerator, its forestry experts and the services provided by IGN Conseil, IGN Espace and the specialized geodetic levelling work.

IGN Lightweight CameraIGN Lightweight Camera

      • Three research results | The IGN Lightweight Camera for risk prevention ; iTowns - Navigate the city in 3D ; The Géocube - Measure and monitor ground movements
      • A school for geomatics engineering | IGN has a school of excellence in the field of geomatics: ENSG, the National School of Geographical Sciences, which trains future talents involved in the production and use of geographic information.
      • A support system for start-ups | IGNfab helps SMEs develop innovative products and services using the description of the territory and geolocation in different sectors. IGNfab supports selected projects by providing its expertise, free preferential access to its data and a dedicated 200-sqm workspace.

Géocube : An innovation in GPS land survey measurementGéocube: An innovation in GPS land survey measurement


IGN promotes Open Data

For several years now, IGN has been engaged in a process of opening up data and providing free software. To maintain the quality of its data, IGN has set up a special price policy. Today, the institute supports the French government's policy on Open Data and digital technology.

Developing collaborative work

IGN has migrated all of its historical collaboration tools into a single interface: the Collaborative Space. This platform provides an opportunity for IGN partners to:

      • report changes or anomalies (street name change, new building) in the Institute's databases through an information reporting system,
      • extract IGN reference vectors (land use, address) based on geographical criteria (region, department) and/or semantic criteria,
      • host and manage their data using dedicated tools as part of a commercial service.

More about the IGN, pdf 1.5 Mb
Natural risk prevention for territorial management in France, pdf 1.8 Mb

IGN Magazine n°98, pdf de 3 Mo

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