GIS Bruges 1862


Cadastre of the city of Bruges

Over the course of the 19th century, P.C. Popp published the cadastral plans and registers of numerous municipalities in Belgium. The maps show a detailed representation of buildings, plots, roads, waterways and other landscape elements. Used in combination with the property descriptions, they constitute an important source for diverse research topics. The cadastre of Bruges that Popp published in 1863 was fully digitised and converted into a Geographic Information System as part of the POPPKAD project.

Information sheet

Title: GIS of the city of Bruges

Author: Ghent University with the exception of specific sub-collections

Population/Subject: Geographic Information System

Region: West Flanders, Belgium

Period: 1862

Number of units: 9 517 plots

Number of variables: 48

Format: CSV, XLS, SHP

Accessibility: No restrictions on top of the general terms and conditions of use of the Quetelet Center, with the exception of base maps (shapefiles) which are not accessible.

Context of the database

P.C. Popp published the cadastral plans and registers of 1 733 municipalities as part of the Atlas of Belgium. This unique publication is a gold mine for historical geography, industrial archaeology, social history, local history, toponymy and other areas of research. To date, historians and scientists have still not sufficiently exploited the cadastre because of the complexity and scale of the archive. The POPPKAD project was created to open up the cadastre for scientific research. As part of this project, the data on the plans and registers of a number of representative municipalities were fully digitised and linked to Geographic Information Systems. The localities were selected based on their location, size and socio-economic profile.

Bruges, an important administrative center in 1862 with more than 47 000 inhabitants and 8 267 houses, experienced limited growth in the 19th century. In comparison with other cities, the economy developed slowly and new industries were largely absent. There were high levels of poverty and illiteracy in the population. In the mid-19th century, Bruges was even known as the poorest city in Belgium.

What data can you find in this database?

The database brings together the following information per plot and landowner:

  • Type of plot (with a building, garden, orchard, etc.)
  • Type of building (dwelling, warehouse, industrial building, etc.)
  • House number of the dwelling
  • Area of the property
  • Cadastral income of the property
  • Name of the owner
  • Occupation of the owner
  • Residence of the owner

The plot maps (scale 1:1 000) were vectorised and geo-referenced. The GIS base map consists of 24 802 polygons that represent all the plots, buildings, streets, waterways, squares and other topographical elements.

Using the house numbers from the database, it is possible to enrich the property data with data from other sources.

How can you consult data from the database?

The database is managed by the Quetelet Center. Access to the database is subject to particular conditions. The information in the database described above is available for scientific research after approval of an application. Because of copyright and complexity issues, the base maps (shapefiles) are not available. Customised maps can be constructed by the staff at the center and made available in JPG or PDF format on request. Interested parties can contact the staff at the center ( or

Publications based on GIS BRUGES

  • Vrielinck, Sven. Grootse plannen: de kadastrale atlas van P.C. Popp: genese en datering (1840-1880). Amsterdam University Press, 2018.