French dataset: population and GPS coordinates

A short post today based on recent work by @3wen (Ewen Gallic, graduate Student in Rennes, spending a year in Montreal). Since we were working on a detailed French dataset (per commune), we needed a dataset containing a list allcommunes, with population and location. GPS coordinates were extracted from Google, using the following php file, inspired by on Google geocoding api with php webpage. Population was interpolated from INSEE’s datasets, i.e. (since data are over a 35 year period, from 1975 to 2010, changes have been taken into account as carefully are possible – e.g. merges and splits of cities – based on thatdescription). A spline model has been used for all cities (with three degrees of freedom, and null and negative interpolation became one, since we’ll be using loglinear models afterwards). Names are from that dataset, still on INSEE’s website,

A zipped file can be downloaded here, but it is also possible to use the code below (it is a 24Mo dataset). Since it was hard to find such a dataset online (different files can be found, but we found none with population and location), we have decided to upload that dataset. Please let us know if there are problems with those data…

> base=read.csv(
+ "",
+ header=TRUE)

Using that code, it is possible to locate all the communes in France (metropolitan), for instance

> library(maps)
> map("france")
> points(base$long,base$lat,cex=.1,col="red",pch=19)
> points(base$long,base$lat,cex=2*base$pop_2010/
+ max(base$pop_2010),col="blue",pch=19)

Several additional lines of code on that dataset (and also others) will be uploaded, soon.

Cette oeuvre est mise à disposition sous licence Paternité – Partage à l’Identique 3.0 non transposé. Pour voir une copie de cette licence, visitez Date : 24 mai 2012, par Ewen GALLIC. Sources : INSEE, API Google Maps v3 et GeoHack (coordonnées GPS), propres calculs (estimation de population à partir des données INSEE).

  • reg : code region INSEE (character)
  • dep : code departement INSEE (character, corse 201 et 202 au lieu de 2A et 2B)
  • com : code commune INSEE (character)
  • article : article du nom de la commune (character)
  • com_nom : nom de la commune (character)
  • long : longitude (numeric)
  • lat : latitude (numeric)
  • pop_i : estimation de la population à la date i (ramenée à 1 si <=0), i=1975,…,2010 (numeric)

Cite this blog post
Arthur Charpentier (2012, May 24). French dataset: population and GPS coordinates. Freakonometrics. Retrieved April 23, 2024, from

9 thoughts on “French dataset: population and GPS coordinates”

  1. Thanks for the data. It is very useful. I am developing a mobile app and was looking for geolocation of French communes. My search ended here. Data doesn’t have overseas department but it solved my purpose. Thanks to all the people behind collecting this data.

  2. Wow, this piece of writing is good, my younger sister is analyzing such things, thus I am going
    to tell her.

  3. Howdy! Someone in my Facebook group shared this site with us so I came to look it over. Awesome ! Thanks

  4. Interesting. From these data, we can calculate mean population location and its evolution.Considering Metropolitan France except Corsia, while in 1975 and 2010, the mean population location of France was near from Bourges, it’s in 2010 more in southwest compared to 1975.
    Here are the coordinates of the mean population center of France ::
    1975 : Lat : 47,270 Long : 2,633
    2010 : Lat: 47,123 Long : 2,623

  5. A t-on le droit d’utiliser la geolocalisation de google ? Et ensuite de republier en CC ? Il y a un problème de licence là non ?
    Sinon le fichier là contient sans doute les infos dont vous aviez besoin… et dispo sous licence ouverte

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