demonstration of cadastral reconstruction using regular techniques and
GIS cadastral fabrics
Jennifer WHITTAL, South Africa and Susan JONES, New Zealand
Despite the passage of time and advances in technology, there is still considerable uncertainty
as to the location of the positions of the first freehold farms at the Cape, South Africa. These
grants are now 350 years old and of historical interest to the cadastral community.
Traditional relocation methods of cadastral surveyors can now be complemented by recent
technological advances in GIS, both in terms of data visualization and recording. Initial
research undertaken by two undergraduate students (van Niekerk, 2008 and Siebritz, 2007) is
revised and extended using digital overlays, conventional cadastral reconstruction techniques,
and cadastral fabrics.
The subject of this research is the identification of original boundaries which survive in
today's cadastre, and the reconstruction of two Liesbeeck River valley grants of 1660:
Rouwkoop and Rodenburg. These are located in Rondebosch in the City of Cape Town, South
Africa. Map overlays, noting sheet evidence, and diagram tracing indicate four original farm
boundaries in Rondebosch which are possibly common to the current cadastre. A detailed
cadastral reconstruction based on the most recent diagram evidence confirms three boundaries
as retained in today's cadastre and establishes the most likely positions for the beacons of the
farm Rouwkoop. The northern boundary of Rodenburg is also reconstructed. Cumulative
survey inaccuracy and inconsistency over time limits the accuracy of reconstruction.
Comparison with original beacons (if any were placed) is not possible since these been
replaced in more recent subdivisional surveys. Estimates of accuracy are derived from the
deductive process and comparisons against grant data. Reconstructed boundaries for
Rouwkoop, and for the north and south of Rodenburg, are estimated to be accurate to within
1m, and are probably better than 0.5m. The importance of recording a chain of historical
cadastral evidence is highlighted by the research and a cadastral fabric compiled for the area
is demonstrated to be useful for this purpose.
The suite of methods and evidence used in this investigation yields results with demonstrated
validity. These techniques are recommended as suitable for extension of this project to
relocate the positions of other 1660 grants and for undertaking similar historical