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FEMA 101: Flood Mapping

Flood maps inform communities about the local flood risk and help set minimum floodplain standards for communities to build safely. They determine the cost of flood insurance, which helps property owners to financially protect themselvesagainst flooding. The lower the degree of risk, the lower the flood insurance premium will be. Flood maps are also the basisfor flood insurance rates through the National Flood Insurance Program. By law, some may be required to get flood insurance if they live in the highest risk areas. However, flooding can happen anywhere; about twenty percent of all the floodclaims come from areas with lower risk.

The process for developing and updating flood maps allows FEMA to work with communities and property owners at all steps of the process to incorporate the best available data into each community’s flood maps. Flood mapping projectstypically take from three to five years to complete. Through the Risk Mapping Assessment Planning (MAP) program, flood maps are developed using the best available science developed by engineering experts. The mapping standards arepublished, vetted, peer revised and updated continuously to ensure they are up to date with current best practices. Throughthis collaborative process, a community can review, appeal and contribute to the development of a flood map before it isadopted by the community.

There is an infographic available that gives an overview of all that goes into the flood map development process and the key engagement points with community officials.  A full text version of the infographic is also available. click flood mapping for more information.


FEMA Announces Policy Updates to Flood Risk Analysis and Mapping Standards

December 2014

As part of the semi-annual maintenance process, FEMA announces the revision of 18 Risk Map standards.  In August 2013, a set of standards for the Risk MAP (Mapping, Assessment and Planning) program was issued as the FEMA policy Standards for Flood Risk Analysis and Mapping.  The purpose of the standards is to enable consistent performance of flood risk projects, processing of letters of map change and related Risk MAP activities.

Risk MAP has instituted a semi-annual maintenance process for this policy to address ongoing needs for updated standards and to provide regular updates of the procedures for mapping.  As a part of the regular maintenance, standards changes have been implemented related to levee Zone AR and A99 designations, implementing the changes from the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act.  There are also changes related to updating maps to show a deaccredited levee through the Letter of Map Revision process, depiction of base flood elevations on flood maps, use of digital flood hazard data and some terminology changes.  FEMA conducted a public review of the draft standards earlier this year.  No comments were received.  As part of this maintenance cycle, FEMA is also issuing new guidance documents for Risk MAP and updating the related technical reference documents that define specific requirements for flood risk project deliverables.  These documents will be published over the next few weeks.

Risk MAP provides high quality flood maps for the National Flood Insurance Program, information and tools to better assess the risk from flooding, plus planning and outreach support to communities to help them take action to reduce (or mitigate) flood risk.  For additional information, please visit the FEMA Guidelines and Standards for Flood Risk Analysis and Mapping webpage.


FEMA Request for RiskMAP

Contributing Ideas in support of the Risk MAP Production and Technical Services (PTS) Follow-On Acquisition


FEMA’s Federal Insurance & Mitigation Administration (FIMA) manages the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), the cornerstone of the nation’s strategy for preparing communities for flood disaster.  (Learn more about flood insurance at  NFIP was created to reduce flood damage by identifying risks, encouraging sound floodplain management, and providing a mechanism for the public to insure their investments.  FEMA and its governmental partners provide flood hazard data and maps to support flood insurance and floodplain management activities.

To leverage the successes of previous programs and further enhance the usability and value of flood hazard mapping, FEMA developed the Risk Mapping, Assessment and Planning (Risk MAP) program.  Risk MAP combines flood hazard mapping, risk assessment tools and Hazard Mitigation Planning into one program.  This integrated program encourages beneficial partnerships and innovative uses of flood hazard and risk assessment data in order to minimize flood loss and build more resilient communities.

While the focus of Risk MAP is on flood hazard identification, risk assessment, and mitigation, working with communities to help them increase their resilience from all natural hazards is also a goal of the program.  Reducing risk to people and property from natural hazards and reducing a community’s long-term vulnerability may present additional opportunities that the community can leverage to create a safer tomorrow.

FEMA is conducting Market Research in preparation of procuring the next Production & Technical Services (PTS) contracts and is investigating new Community Engagement and Risk Communication (CERC) options.   Specifically, FEMA is interested in ideas to improve the day-to-day design, execution and management of CERC campaigns, products and services to encourage our nation’s communities to increase awareness and take action to reduce the risk of loss of life and property from floods and natural other hazards.  In addition, FEMA is looking at ways to leverage technology to increase efficiency, cost effectiveness and usability in its products and services.

These instructions briefly discuss how to access the FEMA IdeaScale site located at, create an account, and participate in the Risk MAP PTS discussion. 

We’re innovating new technology & techniques to educate ourselves about what ideas, best practices and proven techniques may be available to support the Risk MAP PTS Follow-On Acquisition. To start contributing ideas in support of market research for the Risk MAP Production and Technical Services (PTS) follow-on acquisition, simply go to

To vote to Agree or Disagree and/or contribute to the conversations, just search for the “Risk MAP PTS” campaign under the list of campaigns along the left side of the webpage. Click on the Risk MAP PTS campaign to be directed to that page. Additionally, if you can’t find the Risk MAP PTS campaign on the left-hand side column, simply search for “Risk MAP” or “PTS” and the campaign should come up. We recommend posting your contributions anonymously so as not to sway the conversation or inhibit contributions from non-FEMA contributors. See more detailed instructions on how to register and participate in the site below.

Finally, we would appreciate it if you would share this site and these instructions with individuals or organizations whose inputs you think would benefit our Market Research. Since communication with industry is encouraged to conduct market research in advance of a solicitation per FAR Park 10 Market Research “Participating in interactive, on-line communication among industry, acquisition personnel, and customers”, feel free to distribute this invitation to entities outside the government. Our contracting officer is fully aware of, and supports this approach to conducting market research. Please note that the layout of the IdeaScale site may be different if you are accessing it using a mobile device.

FEMA Risk MAP Program 

IdeaScale Log-in Instructions In the upper right corner of the page there are options to Register or Log in. If you are a new user to FEMA’s IdeaScale website, you must register. For returning users, your existing login will allow you to access the site. To register on the FEMA Ideascale site, just provide an email address to access to the site. Once you have entered this information, you will receive an email from FEMA to verify your account. Open the email and follow the link that says “Yes, this is my email!” We recommend you begin your efforts with viewing the brief IdeaScale familiarization video on the IdeaScale homepage: remember to choose the “anonymous” option when providing your feedback.


USGS Publishes Bulletin 17C, “Guidelines for Determining Flood Flow Frequency”

April 2, 2018

Accurate estimates of flood frequency and magnitude are a key component of any effective nationwide flood risk management and flood damage abatement program.  In addition to accuracy, methods for estimating flood risk must be uniformly and consistently applied because management of the nation’s water and related land resources is a collaborative effort involving multiple actors, including most levels of government and the private sector.  Bulletin 17C’s Chapter B5 of book 4 (TM 4–B5) deals with flood flow frequency analysis at gaged sites using the Expected Moments Algorithm.  The use of extreme flood data represented by interval and censored data types, including historical, paleoflood and botanical evidence, is emphasized.


Request a Change in Your Property’s Flood Zone Designation Online!

Online Letter of Map Change (LOMC) Application Fact Sheet

On December 17, 2012, FEMA launched the Online Letter of Map Change (LOMC) – a new way to submit a request to change a property’s flood zone designation. The Online LOMC application allows anyone to electronically submit required documents and property information when they are requesting FEMA remove their property from a Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA).  link below to the:

Applicants can use this website instead of the MT-1 or MT-EZ paper forms.  All home or property owners, their designated representatives, or professional surveyors and engineers, can use this online tool to conveniently submit required documents, property information, and payment information all in one place.

The Online LOMC offers many advantages over paper forms:

•                    Applicants may save information online and finish applying at their convenience
•                    Clear and intuitive interface makes applying user-friendly
•                    Eliminates time associated with the paper-based submission
•                    Frequent applicants can manage multiple LOMC requests online
•                    More efficient communications with LOMC processing staff
•                    Applicants can check their application status in real-time

Visit to learn more!


Flood Resources/Links

  •  Flood Outreach Toolkit– Access the FloodSmart campaigns comprehensive outreach toolkit with materials and resources, including fact sheets on a range of flood insurance and preparedness topics, the insurance implications of local map changes, answers to tough questions, and online resources. Request a copy by emailing:
  • FEMA Map Service Center (800) 358-9616 – Learn about the current status of local flood maps and related flood risks or order current maps.



KAMM mailing address: KAMM, PO Box 1016, Frankfort, KY 40602-1016.

Have questions, contact us at  Don’t forget to join the KAMM group on LinkedIn.


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