11 July 2022

Demonstrating value of cadastral information in managing natural disasters

General Directorate for Cadastre

“In addition to cartographic data, cadastral information contains other valuable data of properties such as the surfaces of each use, the state of conservation and photography, and data of the title-holders. It also provides the areas and uses of crops in agricultural parcels, which, in addition to having a greater degree of details than the Copernicus Emergencies Service, allows a better evaluation of the goods and rights affected by the natural catastrophe.”

Fernando de Aragón Amunárriz Director, General Directorate for Cadastre, Spain

Fundamental data provided by the General Directorate for Cadastre played a vital role in managing natural disasters caused by the volcanic eruption on La Palma and by rivers overflowing.

Cadastral data of the new affected areas was delivered daily and disseminated to emergency services and public administrations responsible for disaster management.

Data from the Copernicus Emergency Service was analysed and cross-checked with the cadastral database. The analysis, using QGIS tools, was carried out daily throughout the volcano eruption and advance of the lava in the case of La Palma, and during the floods.

Information was then disseminated to emergency services and public administrations responsible for disaster management. This included detailed 1:5 000 scale data of cadastral parcels, buildings and crops and information about owners, surfaces, crops and agricultural exploitations, buildings classified by uses and destinations, photography, and values of real estate.


  • Enables citizens to demonstrate the condition of their properties before they were eliminated or damaged by the natural disaster – regardless of whether they are registered in the Land Registry or not.
  • Provides more information than can be obtained from the Copernicus Emergency Service as it not only visually identifies constructions and crops, but also provides many other valuable data of the affected area.
  • Enables managing administrations to evaluate the damages immediately and act appropriately.
  • Provides transparency in the management of natural disasters as all information is published in an accessible and user-friendly way.
  • Allows both private companies and researchers to analyse and manage the territory in natural disasters, whilst ensuring only owners and public administrations can access protected data.
  • Demonstrates usefulness of cadastral information that goes beyond the payment of property taxes or real estate conveyance.