Mapping the Third Republic: A Geographic Information System of France (1870–1940)

Victor Gay


This article describes a comprehensive geographic information system of Third Republic France: the TRF-GIS. It provides annual nomenclatures and shapefiles of administrative constituencies of metropolitan France from 1870 to 1940, encompassing general administrative constituencies (départements, arrondissements, cantons) as well as the most significant special administrative constituencies: military, judicial and penitentiary, electoral, academic, labor inspection, and ecclesiastical constituencies. It further proposes annual nomenclatures at the contemporaneous commune level that map each municipality into its corresponding administrative framework along with its population count. The 901 nomenclatures, 830 shapefiles, and complete reproduction material of the TRF-GIS are available at


Historical GIS; administrative boundaries; nomenclatures; toponyms, France, Third Republic;

JEL codes

  • N01: Development of the Discipline: Historiographical; Sources and Methods
  • N43: Europe: Pre-1913
  • N44: Europe: 1913–
  • N93: Europe: Pre-1913
  • N94: Europe: 1913–
  • Y91: Pictures and Maps


Victor Gay, Mapping the Third Republic: A Geographic Information System of France (1870–1940), IAST Working Paper, n. 20-111, October 2020.

See also

Published in

Historical Methods, vol. 54, n. 4, August 2021, pp. 189–207