Guidelines & Standards Maintenance

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The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) maintains standards and guidance on a semi-annual basis to support the Risk MAP program.  When FEMA begins the maintenance process for standards or guidance, a maintenance announcement is published detailing the changes.  A copy of the most recent announcement can be found at Maintenance Announcement.

Guidance documents include detailed Summaries of Changes. Each standard in the Policy for Flood Risk Analysis and Mapping has the effective date listed. A general list of changes made to components of the guidelines and standards are also provided below in the Diary of Revisions.

 

Risk MAP ID Tables

Risk MAP products are labeled with a version number to indicate which version(s) of the guidelines and standards were used on those products.Products are labeled with the version number corresponding to the most recent update to that product.  In many cases only a portion of a product is revised, so the version number does not necessarily represent the standards used for the all portions of that product.  In the FIRM database and the Flood Risk database, individual features also have version ID numbers.  This provides more granularity regarding which sections were produced using each version of the standards.  The table below provides a reference to understand what the version number represents on a given product.

Table 1 defines the four digits of the version number while Table 2 presents common examples of how the version numbers would be applied, however it does not capture every possible version number.
 

Table 1: Definition of Version Digits  

DIGIT 1 (PROGRAM)

DIGIT 2 (FIRM DATABASE)

DIGIT 3 (ENGINEERING AND OTHER STANDARDS)

DIGIT 4 (NON- REGULATORY PRODUCTS)

1 = Map Modernization

1 = 2003 Appendix K&L

1 = 2008 FEMA G&S

0 = No Flood Risk Products

2 = Risk MAP

2 = 2011 Appendix K&L

2 = 2011 FEMA G&S

1 = 2010 Flood Risk Products Specs.

 

3 = 2013 FIRM DB TR, FIRM Panel TR

3 = 2013 FEMA Policy

2 = 2013 Flood Risk Products Specs.

Digit 1:  All new studies and areas updated by Letter of Map Revision (LOMR) or Physical Map Revision (PMR) should use “2” for Risk MAP for the study area footprint.

Digit 2: Identifies the FIRM Database specifications used to create the data.  All National Flood Hazard Layer (NFHL) data converted from the 2003 database specifications are assigned with "1" to indicate that the data were originally created in the 2003 database schema.  When updating a study for a PMR, the study must start with the effective data in the NFHL and match that database format (currently 2013, or "3").  However, for PMRs, the individual features for streams that were not scoped to be updated during the PMR but fall within the PMR footprint would have the second digit remain what is currently coded in the NFHL unless the region has scoped for these streams to be updated fully to the most recent database format.  LOMRs started from the NFHL may be produced in the new FIRM graphics format but do not require the database to be fully updated if the NFHL contains "1" for the second digit of the version ID.  If the second digit is higher than "1" the LOMR data must be updated based on that version of spec.

Digit 3: Indicates the version of engineering standards applied to the study area and its review.  PMRs and LOMRs reviewed under the 2013 standards should use “3”.

Digit 4: Indicates whether Non-Regulatory products are included in the study Scope of Work (SOW).

 

Table 2: Versioning Scenarios

VERSION #

DIGIT 1

DIGIT 2

DIGIT 3

DIGIT 4

MAIN REASON FOR CHANGE

1.1.1.0

 Map Modernization

 2003 FIRM Database Specification (Appendix K&L)

 2008 FEMA Guidelines and Specifications (including procedure memoranda)

No Flood Risk Products

Baseline Map Modernization Version Number
*This version applies to most projects initiated between 2003 and 2008.

2.1.2.1

Risk MAP

2003 FIRM Database Specification (Appendix K&L)

2011 FEMA Guidelines and Specifications (including procedure memos – excluding FIRM specs and Flood Risk Product specs)

2010 Flood Risk Products Specification (Procedure Memo 65 / Draft Appendix O)

Addition of Non-Regulatory Products (Appendix O)
*This version typically applies to projects initiated in 2009 and 2010 at the beginning of Risk MAP.

2.1.2.2

Risk MAP

2003 FIRM Database Specification (Appendix K&L)

2011 FEMA Guidelines and Specifications (including procedure memos – excluding FIRM specs and Flood Risk Product specs)

2013 Flood Risk Products Specification (Flood Risk Database Technical Reference)

Addition of Non-Regulatory Products 2013 Flood Risk Database Specification.
*This is an unusual version that applies to project begun prior to the implementation of the new FIRM database specifications in 2011, but where the Flood Risk Database was upgraded to the 2013 specification.

2.2.2.1

Risk MAP

2011 FIRM Database Specification (Appendix K&L)

2011 FEMA Guidelines and Specifications (including procedure memos – excluding FIRM specs and Flood Risk Product specs)

2010 Flood Risk Products Specification (Procedure Memo 65 / Draft Appendix O)

2011 Updates to FIRM Database Specification and Non-Regulatory Products (Appendix O)
*This version typically applies to projects begun in 2011 and 2012 using the new FIRM database specification, prior to the implementation of the new Flood Risk Database specification.

2.2.2.2

Risk MAP

2011 FIRM Database Specification (Appendix K&L)

2011 FEMA Guidelines and Specifications (including procedure memos – excluding FIRM specs and Flood Risk Product specs)

2013 Flood Risk Products Specification (Flood Risk Database Technical Reference)

2011 Updates to FIRM Database Specification and 2013 Non-Regulatory Products
*This is an unusual version that applies to project begun in 2011 and 2012 using the 2011 FIRM specification where the Flood Risk Database was updated to the 2013 specification.

2.3.2.2

Risk MAP

2013 FIRM Database Specification (FIRM Database and FIRM Panel Technical References)

2011 FEMA Guidelines and Specifications (including procedure memos – excluding FIRM specs and Flood Risk Product specs)

2013 Flood Risk Products Specification (Flood Risk Database Technical Reference)

2012/2013 Updates to FIRM Database Specification and 2013 Updates to the Flood Risk Database Specification.
*This version typically applies to projects begun in 2011 and 2012 (or earlier) that used the 2013 version for both database specifications.

2.3.3.2

Risk MAP

2013 FIRM Database Specification (FIRM Database and FIRM Panel Technical References)

2013 FEMA Policy for Flood Risk Analysis and Mapping (excluding FIRM specs and Flood Risk Product specs)

2013 Flood Risk Products Specification (Flood Risk Database Technical Reference)

Includes LAMP and several other technical changes.
*This version applies to projects initiated in 2013 or earlier projects that implement the standards changes included in the 2013 standards policy memo (i.e. revised procedures for mapping non-accredited levees, new dune erosion procedures, etc).

 

 

Diary of Revisions

The guidance listed here supersedes the noted affected component(s).

Guidance Adopted Since the Publication of the Guidelines in February 2002

DATE

ACTION

REVISED COMPONENT

August 2013

FEMA implemented a transformation of the guidelines and standards for flood risk mapping.  These standards are consistent with the previous requirements for FEMA flood risk mapping.  However, they represent a significant change in the way the requirements are organized that FEMA expects to result in more consistency nationally and improve production efficiency for the flood mapping program.

The new approach clearly organizes standards and guidance separate categories, avoids ambiguity with respect to what is truly mandatory and what is recommended that existed in the prior combined guidelines and standards for flood hazard mapping documents and clarifies areas of flexibility creating opportunities for more efficient approaches.

 

Additionally, few changes were implemented through the policy memo, notably non-accredited levee analysis and mapping procedures, refinements to the definition of the Risk MAP process and products, requirements for documentation of the basis for SFHA designations, requirements for an initial estimate of the likely impacts of new analysis, new requirements for considering dune erosion, new vertical datum conversion requirements, updated lidar specifications, an updated quality management process and a few other minor refinements.

Guidelines and Standards Policy Memo

November 2011

Appendix K was updated (along with Appendix L) to reflect a more automated map creation protocol with less manual cartographic finishing. Changes to the FIRM graphics reflected in this revision include the addition of colors and other improvements to the symbols to help communicate risk more efficiently.  To this end, floodways and areas behind levees are symbolized more prominently. Base Flood Elevation (BFE) labels, rounded to the tenth of a foot, are now shown on cross sections. Additional interpolated BFEs may still be placed between cross sections to facilitate elevation determinations.  The overall page size and layout of the FIRM has been changed to a more standard page size and the map collar information was streamlined.

Appendix K

November 2011

Appendix L was updated (along with Appendix K) to reflect changes made to the FIRM panel, the FIS Report (including the Map Index) and the Data Capture Standards.  This update allowed for more automated and streamlined production of the FEMA regulatory products.  Changes to the FIRM Database implemented in this update include inclusion of key engineering data previously specified in Appendix M, new tables to store information needed to automate the FIS Report tables and profiles, greater reliance on the profile baseline and updated delivery file formats. 

Appendix L

July 2011

Appendix I revision provided additional guidance to be used by project teams while performing Discovery for Risk MAP projects, including an emphasis on up-front stakeholder coordination, engagement prior to meeting with communities and the desired outcomes expected as part of the process.

Appendix I

November 2009

Added clarification on documentation requirements; hydrology guidance updates for rainfall-runoff modeling, statistical analyses, 1D steady flow, 1D unsteady flow, and 2D modeling; floodway guidance updates for 1D steady flow, 1D unsteady flow, 2D, and link-node models and floodplain delineation guidance updates for 1D and 2D models.

Appendix C

April 2003

Revised FEMA process for maintaining these guidelines and requirements for Physical Map Revision (PMR) request submittals.

Introduction

April 2003

Added discussion of Monitoring Information on Contracted Studies (MICS) system, methods for updating alluvial fan flood hazards; added final digital Flood Insurance Study (FIS) and Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) deliverable specifications; added description of revised countywide FIRM distribution protocol; updated Letter of Map Change (LOMC) Distribution Service discussion to include Final Summaries of Map Action (SOMAs) and LOMC-VALID letters.

Volume 1

April 2003

Added guidance on Report and Map Production, processing for PMRs consistent with Volume 1; updated SOMA and LOMC validation process; added guidance for the preparation of LOMR attachments.

Volume 2

April 2003

Added requirements for Final SOMA and LOMC Distribution Service product; replaced requirements for Credited Structures Inventory System with requirements for FEMA Levee Inventory System; added requirements for production of Compendium of Flood Map Changes; revised requirements for use and maintenance of MICS system; added information on technical and administrative support data available from the FEMA archives, current fees, removed requirement for delivery of hard copy FIS report as part of deliverables for Engineering Study Data Package; provided clarification on deliverables for Letter of Determination Review requests and revised requirements for maintenance of Cooperating Technical Partners (CTP) Database.

Volume 3

April 2003

Deleted NIMA's Vector Product Format (VPF) and added MapInfo's native tabular format (TAB); also added requirement to document the geoid model and ellipsoid used.

Appendix A

April 2003

Reference made to the new FEMA Levee Inventory System; clarification added for levee freeboard requirements.

Appendix H

April 2003

Added subsection explaining the Mapping Needs Update Support System (MNUSS) template; revised the Community Partner Memorandum and Agreement template; revised Statement of Work template; added table to show correlations between templates and data in MICS system; added requirements for CTP Mapping Activity Statements and templates.

Appendix I

April 2003

Revised guidance for Preliminary FIS reports and final FIS report deliverable format; added examples of Flood Insurance Zone Data tables.

Appendix J

April 2003

Changed numerous FIRM graphic specifications.

Appendix K

April 2003

Updated Standard DFIRM database specifications; added enhanced DFIRM database specifications.

Appendix L

April 2003

Added form for certification of work on Flood Map Projects; clarified requirements for submittal of Technical Support Data Notebook (TSDN) Indexes and inserted revised Indexes; added general TSDN requirements for coastal flooding analyses, shallow flooding analyses, ice-jam flooding analyses and alluvial fan flooding analyses; clarified requirements for receiving Mapping Partner review of data submitted in support of community-initiated map revision.

Appendix M

 

Last Updated: 
07/24/2014 - 16:00
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