Moving From Paper to Digital Flood Hazard Information

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October 1, 2009 Map Format Transition

Beginning with flood maps distributed on or after October 1, 2009, FEMA will provide a single paper map and Flood Insurance Study (FIS) to each mapped community and will convert all other distribution of maps and FIS reports to digital delivery. FEMA will continue to provide free digital map products and data to Federal, State, Tribal, and local National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) stakeholders. FEMA announced this change in the Federal Register (PDF, 43KB), Vol. 23, No. 76, issued on October 23, 2008.

Since Flood Map Modernization (Map Mod) began in 2003, FEMA has achieved a 50- to 75-percent reduction in the number of flood maps distributed in paper form. A key goal of Map Mod has been to convert the NFIP paper map inventory to digital products and to replace the distribution of paper maps with digital delivery via the Internet.

New digital map users can access easy-to-use digital images (FIRM Scans and/or FIRMettes). Users with more experience can create custom map products and perform advanced flood risk analyses. Map image and GIS data can be downloaded or delivered on CD-ROM. Map images from the Geographical Information Systems (GIS) data also can be access through a Web Map Service. A variety of FEMA-provided or commercially available software tools can be used with these data.

FEMA achieved this milestone with the implementation of a Policy for Use of Digital Flood Hazard Data in November 2007, an inventory of digital flood map images, the release of the National Flood Hazard Layer product, and a suite of tools and users' guides for handling digital flood data. For more information on handling the transition from paper to digital, download the Moving to Digital Flood Hazard Information flyer.

Replacing paper map products with digital versions will save money and improve the usability of FEMA flood hazard data. The FEMA Map Service Center provides users with free tools, extensive background information, and instructions for its digital products.

FEMA will continue to work closely with stakeholders to ensure these digital products and services meet the needs of the NFIP and support the reduction of flood risk nationally.

If you have questions or comments about this change, please email

For More Information

If you have additional questions about digital mapping products or need additional assistance:

  • Please e-mail a Map Specialist.
  • Please call a Map Specialist in the FEMA Map Information eXchange; toll free, at 1-877-FEMA MAP (1-877-336-2627).
  • Please register to receive Flood Map Modernization updates on FEMA Flood Hazard Mapping activities via e-mail.
Last Updated: 
07/24/2014 - 16:00
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