This polygon shapefile represents the Department Boundaries for the Rhône-Alpes region of France for 2010. These are the level 2 administrative divisions (ADM2) of Rhône-Alpes. Department is one of the three levels of government below the national level ("territorial collectivities"), between the region and the commune. There are 96 departments in metropolitan France and 5 overseas departments, which also are classified as regions. Departments are further subdivided into 342 arrondissements, themselves divided into cantons; the latter two have no autonomy and are used for the organisation of public services and sometimes elections.This dataset is intended for researchers, students, and policy makers for reference and mapping purposes, and may be used for basic applications such as viewing, querying, and map output production, or to provide a basemap to support graphical overlays and analysis with other spatial data.