- Review of New Standards for Flood Hazard Mapping
- Digital Flood Insurance Rate Map (DFIRM) and DFIRM Database Information
- Document Control Procedures Manual
- FEMA Procedure Memorandums
- FEMA Operating Guidance
- Diary of Revisions
- Document Organization
- Version Control
- Guidelines and Specifications Archives
- How to Submit Comments and Suggestions
- For More Information
In Guidelines and Specifications for Flood Hazard Mapping Partners (Guidelines), the Department of Homeland Security, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) defines technical requirements, product specifications for Flood Hazard Maps and related National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) products and associated coordination and documentation activities. When it was distributed in February 2002, the Guidelines combined FEMA technical, programmatic and administrative procedure publications, guidance documents (listed below) and memorandums regarding Flood Hazard Map production. In April 2003, FEMA updated the Guidelines to reflect current requirements for FEMA products and processes, including changes to the processes and products associated with implementation of Flood Map Modernization (Map Mod).
Review of New Standards for Flood Hazard Mapping
As part of a broad review of FEMA policy, FEMA has reviewed all of the requirements outlined in the Guidelines and Specifications for Flood Hazard Mapping Partners (Guidelines) and developed a set of about 450 standards for the program as a replacement for all of the standards in the current Guidelines.
FEMA intends to publish these standards as a FEMA policy. The draft standards are being made available for public review to provide an opportunity to comment prior to the finalization of the policy. For more information on the draft standards and instructions on how to submit comments to FEMA, please see the Review of New Standards for Flood Hazard Mapping.
The requirements for the production and processing of two key products of Map Mod—the DFIRM and the DFIRM Spatial Database—are documented in Volume 1 and Appendices K, L and N of the Guidelines.
The FEMA Document Control Procedures Manual (Manual) is to be used in conjunction with the Guidelines. The Manual provides guidance to FEMA, mapping partner and contractor staff for the processing of standard and non-standard documents used in FEMA-contracted studies/restudies, community-initiated map revisions, conditional and final map revisions based on conditions other than fill, conditional and final map revisions based on fill, conditional and final map amendments, Letter of Determination Review and special conversions. The Manual also provides procedures and sample documents for use in tracking community compliance and documenting a community's entry into NFIP.
Because the Manual is a living document, FEMA encourages interested parties to submit ideas for improving this Manual. Please see How to Submit Comments and Suggestions.
When appropriate, FEMA has issued and will continue to issue Procedure Memorandums in the following situations:
- To implement updates to the Guidelines and the Manual.
- To provide additional clarification of procedures to be followed by FEMA, contractors and mapping partners that are not documented in published guidance documents.
- To establish procedures and policies for FEMA, contractors and mapping partners.
In 2011 FEMA began issuing Operating Guidance. Operating Guidance documents provide best practices for FEMA’s Risk MAP program. These guidance documents are intended to support current FEMA standards and facilitate effective and efficient implementation of these standards. However, nothing in Operating Guidance is mandatory, other than program standards that are defined elsewhere and reiterated in the Operating Guidance document. Alternate approaches that comply with program standards that effectively and efficiently support program objectives are also acceptable.
When FEMA updates and re-issues the Guidelines, detailed Summaries of Changes are provided at the beginning of each affected section or subsection. A general list of changes made to components of the Guidelines also is provided in a Diary of Revisions.
The Guidelines have been organized into 3 volumes and 13 appendices as follows:
- Volume 1 explains the activities involved in the completion of studies/mapping projects and provides guidelines for performing those activities in five phases: mapping needs assessment; project scoping, topographic and flood hazard data development; map and report production and Preliminary/Post-Preliminary processing.
- Volume 2 provides guidelines for conditional and final revisions and amendments to flood hazard maps initiated by communities and other mapping partners, including conditional and final Letters of Map Amendment, conditional and final Letters of Map Revision Based on Fill, conditional and final Letters of Map Revision and Physical Map Revisions. Volume 2 also provides guidelines for revisions and amendments initiated by FEMA, including Coastal Barrier Resources System revisions, Notice to User revisions, and Letter of Map Change Revalidation letters.
- Volume 3 provides guidelines for the numerous support activities performed for FEMA by contractors and mapping partners in five general categories: program coordination, special technical and program support, public outreach activities, special correspondence support and other program support.
- Appendices A through M provide additional guidelines and specifications for the processes and products associated with the following: aerial mapping and surveying (including airborne Light Detection and Ranging systems); datum conversions; hazard analyses and mapping of riverine, coastal, shallow, ice-jam and alluvial fan flooding; evaluation and mapping of flood protection systems (i.e., levee systems); scoping for studies/mapping projects; Flood Insurance Study reports; Flood Hazard Maps; draft digital data and DFIRM databases; technical and administrative support data preparation and processing requirements and DCS.
FEMA will update and re-issue the Guidelines periodically. In the interim, FEMA will use the procedure memorandum process to add, revise and supersede standards and guidelines when immediate changes to the Guidelines are warranted. FEMA Regional and Headquarters Office staff will notify mapping partners and contractors when changes are made.
To ensure FEMA mapping partners and contractors are provided with a controlled and current version of the Guidelines for Flood Hazard Map production and processing activities, FEMA implemented the following document control procedures:
- A new version of the Guidelines will be posted as warranted as a collection of PDF and TXT files.
- A header on each page will identify the version date.
- A footer on each page will provide the page number and major section number (e.g., 1.1, 1.2).
- A date (month and year) reflecting the last time the section or subsection was revised will appear to the right of the heading for each numbered section and subsection.
FEMA mapping partners and contractors will also be able to keep up to date on changes to the Guidelines through the Diary of Revisions discussed above.
To facilitate review by FEMA, mapping partner and contractor staff, FEMA is maintaining a Guidelines and Specifications Archive that will contain superseded versions of the Guidelines.
Written comments and suggestions may be submitted to FEMA electronically by sending an e-mail message to FEMA.GS@riskmapcds.com. Alternatively, comments and suggestions may be mailed to the address below.
Federal Emergency Management Agency
Federal Insurance and Mitigation Administration
Risk Analysis Division
500 C Street, SW
Washington, DC 20472
Attention: Paul Rooney, Chair, Guidelines and Standards Steering Committee
For more information or additional assistance: