Cadastre in Europe and Portugal. A brief overview.

Blog Post created by fgil on Jan 14, 2015

Cadastre in Europe

There is no single coherent solution in the field of cadastre within Europe at the current time. The institutional evolution, applied services as well as the definition of cadastre differ from country to country due to the influence of culture, history and other societal reasons. On the continent, cadastral GIS are acknowledged as an inevitable and supportive complement to land registry and together they serve not only the security of property rights, but directly foster the economic-societal prosperity and facilitate sustainable development (Remetey-Fülöpp, 2004).

According to (PCC; EuroGeographics, 2011) in Europe, “cadastre” includes several functions and types of information and not only strictly those of the “classical real estate” cadastre itself. The content of the cadastre in the European countries is more or less defined in each country’s relevant legislation. An overview of the cadastral systems in the EU member states can be found in “Cadastral Information System: a resource for the EU policies” PCC publications: volume I (Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Germany, Italy, Slovakia, Spain and Sweden) (PCC, 2008); volume II (Cyprus, Finland, Greece, Hungary, Poland and Slovenia) (PCC, 2009); volume III (Estonia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Denmark, Romania and Portugal) (PCC, 2009b) and volume IV (Bulgaria, France, Ireland, Latvia. Malta, Netherlands, and United Kingdom) (PCC, 2010), as well as in the results of the project “The role of the Cadastral parcel” (EuroGeographics; PCC, 2007), and the Cadastres and Land Registries reports (Kersten, et al., 2008) and (Kersten, et al., 2010).

Figure 24 - National coverage of cadastre in European Union (EuroGeographics; PCC, 2007)

Furthermore, in Figure 24, above, is presented the national coverage of cadastre in European Union according to (EuroGeographics; PCC, 2007).

In terms of European cadastral and national mapping organizations GIS technology used, it’s verified a predominance of Esri technology according to ArcNews 2011 Spring issue (Esri, 2011), as could be seen in Figure 25.

Figure 25 - Green represents European cadastral and national mapping organizations using Esri technology (Esri, 2011)

Moreover, a mention should also be made to EuroGeographics Cadastre and land registration knowledge exchange network, which has the goal of facilitating the exchange of 'best practice' to help its members to achieve a vision for cadastre and land registration in Europe 2012 (EuroGeographics, 2012a). Their work supports the decision makers of the EuroGeographics member organisations and other interested parties in creating effective spatial data infrastructures, securing (inter)national land administrations and contributing to sustainable development (EuroGeographics, 2012).

Finally, in Figure 26 is presented the web of organizational interaction of various European entities and initiatives / services relative to one another mapping the relationships between them according to (Grimsley & Roll, 2014), where it’s highlighted the main connections and central role of land thematic in Europe.

Figure 26 - The web of organizational interaction of various European entities and initiatives (Grimsley & Roll, 2014)


Cadastre in Portugal. Brief overview.

A very comprehensive overview of the Cadastre in Portugal from the beginning of XIX century till 2009, can be found in “The Cadastral System in Portugal” (PCC, 2009b) in terms of history and purposes of the cadastre, development of the institutional and organisational structure, financial and organisational issues and decentralisation, involvement of the private sector. Moreover this thematic can be revisited (in Portuguese) at (Julião, 2009).

The Portuguese cadastre, as many other in most of the South and West of continental Europe (PCC, 2008) (PCC, 2009) (PCC, 2009a) (PCC, 2010), was created on the basis of the Napoleonic Cadastre (Zevenbergen, 2002) (Williamson, 1997), purely to tax significant economical parcels which, at that time, were mainly rural parcels (Julião, et al., 2010) (Castanheira, 2012).

Nowadays in Portugal, cadastre is defined as an exhaustive, methodical and updated inventory that characterizes and identifies real estate properties in a certain territory (DGT, 2014) (Julião, et al., 2010), thus contributing to a paradigm shift in Portuguese cadastre: from tax purpose to multipurpose, according to (Julião, et al., 2010a), as shown in Figure 28.

Portugal still has two cadastral systems running, with different data models (IGP, 2009):

  • Rural Property Cadastre:
    • The rural property cadastre has more entities, due to the fact that is tax driven and has additional elements regarding the rural property evaluation, such as land use. Its main elements are: parcels, sub-parcels, rural constructions, property marks, administrative boundaries and marks.
    • Currently is being carried on a migration process towards its integral digitalization (Mira & Bica, 2011), (IGP, 2010)
  • Real Property Cadastre:
    • Legal Parcel definition: Parcel, designated as “prédio”, is a juridical autonomous limited part of land, which includes water, plantations, buildings and constructions of any nature incorporated in it.
    • Although a parcel boundary can be defined by a building, cadastre model doesn’t include them.
    • The basic spatial elements of the cadastre: parcel, its boundaries and the corresponding defining property marks.
    • There is also a special element, designated as no-parcel areas, which represents the areas not defined as parcels, which include public areas, unknown owner areas and litigation areas.
    • The cadastre registers the parcel identification number – NIP, the corresponding identification codes from the land registry and real estate tax, the declared owner and corresponding personal data.


Figure 28 - Paradigm shift: from tax purpose to multipurpose (Julião, et al., 2010a)


Portuguese cadastre legislation references


Moreover, the Portuguese cadastre legislation main references, till February 2014, are the following:

  • Council of Ministers Resolution n.º 56/2012 (guidelines and strategies for rural management and Cadastre) (PCM, 2012);
  • Decree Law n.º 65/2011 (extends to forest intervention areas the experimental implementation, operation and access to cadastral information) (MAOT, 2011);
  • Decree Law n.º 224/2007 (approves the scheme of experimental implementation, operation and access to cadastral information, aiming at the creation of the Cadastral Information Management and Operation National System - SINERGIC) (MAOTDR, 2007);
  • Council of Ministers Resolution n.º 45/2006 (Cadastral Information Management and Operation National System (SINERGIC) guidelines and overall objectives) (PCM, 2006);
  • Decree Law n.º 172/95 (approves the Property Cadastre Regulation) (MPAT, 1995);
  • Decree Law n. º 143/82 (assigns the Cadastral and Geographic Institute the exclusive responsibility for the preparation and maintenance of all basic cartography for the construction of the Portuguese Cadastral Map and establishes the essentials legal instruments to achieve these objectives) (MFP, 1982).


PS: This text is extracted from my Master's Thesis in GIS and Science (published at http://hdl.handle.net/10362/13786) Dissertation's State of Art Chapter 2.


Castanheira, A., 2012. Do SiNErGIC até hoje. [Online]
Available at:http://www.apdsi.pt/uploads/news/id614/Do_SiNErGIC_ate_hoje_28Nov12_ACastanheira.pdf
[Accessed 24 02 2014].

DGT, 2014. Cadastro Predial. [Online]
Available at: http://www.dgterritorio.pt/cadastro/cadastro_predial/
[Accessed 10 03 2014].

Esri, 2011. European Cadastres and National Mapping Agencies. [Online]
Available at: http://www.esri.com/news/arcnews/spring11articles/european-cadastres-and-national-mapping-agencies.html
[Accessed 10 03 2014].

EuroGeographics; PCC, 2007. The cadastral parcel in NSDI’s and in INSPIRE.[Online]
Available at:http://www.eurocadastre.org/pdf/Final_report_INSPIRE/final_report_august_2007.pdf
[Accessed 05 03 2014].

EuroGeographics, 2012a. Vision document cadastre and land registration in Europe 2012. [Online]
Available at:http://www.eurogeographics.org/sites/default/files/EuroGeographics_introductory%20leaflet_A4_2sided_v62.pdf
[Accessed 10 03 2014].

EuroGeographics, 2012. Cadastre and land registry. [Online]
Available at: http://www.eurogeographics.org/about/cadastre-and-land-registry
[Accessed 10 03 2014].

Grimsley, C. K. & Roll, G., 2014. Building cooperation between international organizations in Europe. [Online]
Available at: https://www.conftool.com/landandpoverty2014/index.php/Grimsley-787-787.pdf?page=downloadPaper&filename=Grimsley-787-787.pdf&form_id=787&form_version=final
[Accessed 22 03 2014].

IGP, 2009. The Cadastral System in Portugal. [Online]
Available at: http://www.eurocadastre.org/pdf/Cadastral%20systems_III_2009.pdf

IGP, 2010. Especificações Técnicas para a Informatização do Cadastro Geométrico da Propriedade Rústica. [Online]
Available at: http://www.igeo.pt/servicos/CGPR/Especificacoes_InfCGPR_3.pdf
[Accessed 24 02 2014].

Julião, R. P., 2009. A Cartografia, o Cadastro e as Infra-estruturas de Informação Geográfica em Portugal. [Online]
Available at:http://www.concar.ibge.gov.br/arquivo/Apresentacao_IGP_29072009.pdf
[Accessed 03 03 2014].

Julião, R. P., Roque, C. & Neto, J. P., 2010a. Creating, managing and exploring cadastral data. [Online]
Available at:http://www.eurocadastre.org/pdf/Spain_june_10/presentaciones_catastro_actividad_economica/4experiencia_IGP_RPEDRO.pdf
[Accessed 05 03 2014].

Julião, R. P., Roque, C. & Neto, J. P., 2010. SiNErGIC – A new approach to cadastre. [Online]
Available at:http://www.fig.net/pub/fig2010/papers/ts02h%5Cts02h_juliao_roque_et_al_4215.pdf
[Accessed 15 07 2017].

Kersten, B., Halme, P. & Eertink, D., 2010. Cadastres and Land Registries. Source of information - Round 2.. [Online]
Available at:http://www.eurogeographics.org/sites/default/files/report%20information%20resource%20version%201.pdf
[Accessed 11 03 2014].

Kersten, B. et al., 2008. Cadastres and Land Registries. Source of information.Brussels, Belgium, EuroGeographics.

MAOT, 2011. Decreto-Lei n.º 65/2011 de 16 de Maio. [Online]
Available at: http://dre.pt/pdf1sdip/2011/05/09400/0272602737.pdf
[Accessed 27 02 2014].

MAOTDR, 2007. Decreto-Lei n.º 224/2007 de 31 de Maio. [Online]
Available at: http://dre.pt/pdf1s/2007/05/10500/36183629.pdf
[Accessed 27 02 2014].

MFP, 1982. Decreto-Lei n.º 143/82 de 26 de Abril. [Online]
Available at: http://www.igeo.pt/instituto/DL_143_82.pdf
[Accessed 27 02 2014].

Available at: http://www.igeo.pt/eventos/comunicacoes/Porto/CNCG2011-TeresaMira_comunicacao.pdf
[Accessed 24 02 2014].

MPAT, 1995. Decreto-Lei n.º 172/95 de 16 de Julho. [Online]
Available at: http://www.igeo.pt/instituto/DL_172_95.pdf
[Accessed 27 02 2014].

PCC; EuroGeographics, 2011. Cadastre iNSPIREd! - Ci! The benefits of Cadastral Information for themes in INSPIRE Annexes II and III. [Online]
Available at:http://www.eurogeographics.org/sites/default/files/Cadastre%20iNSPIREd_%20Final_report_032011_1%5B1%5D.pdf
[Accessed 10 02 2014].

PCC, 2008. Cadastral information system: a resource for the EU policies. Overview on the Cadastral Systems of the E.U. member states. Part I. [Online]
Available at: http://www.eurocadastre.org/pdf/Cadastral%20systems_I_2008.pdf
[Accessed 21 02 2014].

PCC, 2009a. Cadastral information system: a resource for the EU policies. Overview on the Cadastral Systems of the E.U. member states. Part III. [Online]
Available at: http://www.eurocadastre.org/pdf/Cadastral%20systems_III_2009.pdf
[Accessed 14 02 2014].

PCC, 2009b. Cadastral information system: a resource for the EU policies. Overview on the Cadastral Systems of the E.U. member states. Part III. [Online]
Available at: http://www.eurocadastre.org/pdf/Cadastral%20systems_III_2009.pdf
[Accessed 14 02 2014].

PCC, 2009. Cadastral information system: a resource for the EU policies. Overview on the Cadastral Systems of the E.U. member states. Part II. [Online]
Available at: http://www.eurocadastre.org/pdf/Cadastral%20systems_II_2009.pdf
[Accessed 21 02 2014].

PCC, 2010. Cadastral information system: a resource for the EU policies. Overview on the Cadastral Systems of the E.U. member states. Part IV. [Online]
Available at: http://www.eurocadastre.org/pdf/cadastral_systems_IV_2010.pdf
[Accessed 21 02 2014].

PCM, 2006. Resolução do Conselho de Ministros n.o 45/2006 de 4 de Maio.[Online]
Available at: http://www.igeo.pt/instituto/RCM45_2006.pdf
[Accessed 27 02 2014].

PCM, 2012. Resolução do Conselho de Ministros n.º 56/2012 de 5 de Julho.[Online]
Available at: http://dre.pt/pdf1sdip/2012/07/12900/0341903424.pdf
[Accessed 27 02 2014].

Available at: http://www.gsdidocs.org/gsdiconf/GSDI-7/papers/NIgrf.pdf
[Accessed 06 03 2014].

Williamson, I., 1997. The Justification of Cadastral Systems for Developing Countries.. [Online]
Available at:http://www.csdila.unimelb.edu.au/publication/misc/anthology/article/artic9.htm
[Accessed 04 03 2014].

Zevenbergen, J., 2002. Systems of Land Registration. Aspects and Effects. [Online]
Available at:http://www.researchgate.net/publication/35958992_Systems_of_land_registration__aspects_and_effects_
[Accessed 03 03 2014].