FEMA Engineering Library: Frequently Asked Questions

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Engineering Library

  1. What is the FEMA Engineering Library?
  2. What types of data are stored in the Engineering Library?
  3. Who can request data from the Engineering Library?
  4. Who can receive data from the Engineering Library free of charge?
  5. How do I make a library request?
  6. How much does it cost to receive backup data?
  7. Is data available for immediate download?
  8. How long does it take to process a request?
  9. How do I find out the status of a request?
  10. How do I submit a Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA) request?

1. What is the FEMA Engineering Library?

The Engineering Library is the final repository for the technical and administrative data used to develop the National Flood Insurance Program's (NFIP) Flood Insurance Studies (FIS) and their related Amendments and Revisions. The Engineering Library contains both the current, effective data and historic data sets archived in a variety of formats including hardcopy, microfiche, and digital media. The Engineering Library is in the process of digitizing all of its archives.

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2. What types of data are stored in the Engineering Library?

The Engineering Library is the primary storage facility for the technical data supporting the National Flood Insurance Program. As such, it contains all documents and engineering data needed to recreate the FIS and the related Amendments and Revisions. For more information, visit How to Order Technical and Administrative Support Data.

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3. Who can request data from the Engineering Library?

Anyone is able to request data from the Engineering Library. However, there is a fee to obtain any data except for certain fee-exempt entities.

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4. Who can receive data from the Engineering Library free of charge?

FEMA and parties under contract with FEMA is fee exempt, visit Fee Exemptions for Requests for Flood Insurance Study Backup Data for a more detailed listing.

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5. How do I make a library request?

Most library requests should be made though the Engineering Library's External Data Request (EDR) process. A standardized form has been created to submit an EDR.

Since FEMA study contractors, Cooperating Technical Partners, and Production and Technical Services contractors often need to acquire full county datasets for a particular county, the Engineering Library has developed a special process (the Multi-Stream EDR process) to better handle these types of requests. For larger requests for the majority of a county's data, please use the Multi-Stream EDR request process.

The appropriate form and any applicable fees can be submitted by:

E-mail: libraryrequest@riskmapcds.com
Facsimile: 1-703-212-4090

FEMA Engineering Library
847 S. Pickett Street
Alexandria, VA 22304

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6. How much does it cost to receive backup data?

View the current fee schedule for Flood Insurance Study backup data requests (i.e., technical and administrative support).

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7. Is data available for immediate download?

Currently, direct access to archived data is not available. Much of the National Flood Insurance Program backup data has been archived in hardcopy or microfiche formats and therefore must be digitized before it can be easily accessed. The Engineering Library is in the process of digitizing its archives, but must rely upon more traditional library services until this task is complete. When data is located in fulfillment of a request, it will be digitized and delivered via e-mail, a File Transfer Protocol (FTP) download, or on digital media as appropriate.

The Engineering Library has developed the CFAS application for limited access to backup data already digitized. However, since this data is not redacted and may contain sensitize information, use of CFAS is restricted to FEMA PTS contractors.

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8. How long does it take to process a request?

Due to the variety of requests received it is not possible to provide a specific time frame, however a typical External Data Request takes up to 2 weeks to process while a Countywide Request may take 3 or more weeks.

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9. How do I find out the status of a request?

Upon receipt of a request, a case will be set up and a unique case number assigned. An email notification will also be sent indicating when a request has been received.

Requests are completed in the order they are received at the library, upon initiation of the request, the research analyst will contact the requester.

If a request has been submitted, but no further communication has been received, please contact the FMIX call center at 1-877-FEMA-MAP.

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10. How do I submit a Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA) request?

FOIA requests are not submitted directly to the FEMA Engineering Library. Instead, they should be submitted to FEMA's FOIA office. After a request has been submitted, FEMA's FOIA office will work with the Engineering Library to determine a time and cost estimate and communicate this estimate directly to the requester

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Last Updated: 
07/24/2014 - 16:00
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