Report touts digital floodplain maps
New digital, high-resolution land elevation maps, created using LiDAR technology, are needed to support the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) effort to modernize the nation’s floodplain maps, says a new National Research Council report requested by Congress. The floodplain maps are used by mortgage companies and FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program to determine whether property owners should be required to purchase flood insurance.
FEMA has been partnering with state and local governments in a $200 million-per-year modernization effort to replace paper floodplain maps with digital versions. FEMA sets accuracy requirements for the maps, but it is generally up to state and local governments to provide the data upon which the maps are based. Congress requested the report because of concerns that underlying base map information currently available for much of the nation is not adequate to support the new digital maps.