It is collected in accordance with a register of property (cadastre) drawn up for the most part in the first half of the 19th century, dealing with every piece of property in France, and giving its extent and value and the name of the owner.
The repairing of highways, the upkeep of public buildings,the support of public education, the remuneration of numerous officials connected with the collection of state taxes, the keeping of the cadastre, &c., constitute the principal objects of communal expenditure.
His first plan was to continue the work, already initiated by his predecessor Tourny, of making a fresh survey of the land (cadastre), in order to arrive at a juster assessment of the taille; he also obtained a large reduction in the contribution of the province.
Then, from July to October, he was in Paris superintending the publication of his first work: Cadastre perpetuel, dedie a l'assemblee nationale, l'an 1789 et le premier de la liberte francaise, which was written in 1787 and issued in 1790.
The laborious enterprise of drawing up the famous Tables du Cadastre was entrusted to his direction in 1792, and in 1794 he was appointed professor of the mathematical sciences at the Ecole Polytechnique, becoming director at the Ecole des Ponts et Chaussees four years later.
The tables have never been published, and are generally known as the Tables du Cadastre, or, in England, as the great French manuscript tables.
Babbage compared his table with the Tables du Cadastre, and Lefort has given in his paper just referred to most important lists of errors in Vlacq's and Briggs's logarithms of numbers which were obtained by comparing the manuscript tables with those contained in the Arithmetica logarithmica of 1624 and of 1628.
As the Tables du Cadastre remained unpublished, other tables appeared in which the quadrant was divided centesimally, the most important of these being Hobert and Ideler's Nouvelles tables trigonometriques (1799), and Borda and Delambre's Tables trigonometriques decimates (1800-1801), both of which are seven-figure tables.
Perhaps the most comprehensive of the fiscal reforms of the Empire was the reconstruction of the land tax, based on a census or (to use the French term) cadastre, in which the area, the modes of cultivation and the estimated productiveness of each holding were stated, the average of ten preceding years being taken as the standard.
Peter the Great regularized and completed this evolution by effecting a comprehensive cadastre and census of the rural population.