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Coordinated Needs Management Strategy

This page discusses the Coordinated Needs Management Strategy (CNMS) application of FEMA’s inventory of flood hazard studies and flood hazard mapping needs for areas where a flood hazard study is needed. CNMS is beneficial for community officials and FEMA Regional Office and Headquarters management and staff in analyzing and depicting flood hazards to enhance understanding of flood risk and make informed decisions on community planning and flood mitigation.

FEMA administers the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) and provides authoritative flood hazard data and maps nationwide. As floodplains are constantly changing, FEMA updates flood hazard maps, known as Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs), to reflect physiological, climatological, and engineering methodology (PCE) changes. FEMA also produces new or updated FIRMs where flood mapping has not been produced previously.

To maintain the validity of flood hazard data over time, FEMA assesses its inventory of FIRMs and flood risk studies and determines whether conditions on the ground are still adequately represented on the FIRM panels for that area. When the information on the FIRM does not adequately represent actual conditions, it is considered a “flood hazard mapping need” and a new or updated FEMA flood hazard study for the area may be warranted. FEMA uses Geographic Information System (GIS) technology and develops policies, requirements, and procedures to coordinate the management of flood hazard mapping needs in a comprehensive approach, referred to as the Coordinated Needs Management Strategy (CNMS). Through CNMS, FEMA identifies and tracks the lifecycle of mapping needs of the FEMA flood hazard mapping program, known as the  Risk Mapping, Assessment, and Planning (Risk MAP) program.

View CNMS Data in the GIS Viewer

A GIS-based viewer of the CNMS application, known as the CNMS Viewer, displays two types of data: CNMS Inventory and CNMS Requests.

CNMS is comprised of processes and data for tracking New, Valid, or Updated Engineering (NVUE) data and validation statuses of FEMA’s inventory of flood hazard studies near streamline flooding sources (known as the CNMS Inventory). Within the CNMS Viewer, communities are able to visualize the validity status of a flood hazard study for a geographic area and identify if the area is NVUE compliant and considered to be complete with updated engineering methodology and data. Additionally, CNMS organizes, tracks, and analyzes submitted mapping requests for areas where a flood hazard study or mapping update is desired (known as CNMS Requests).

Below is an image of data populated in the CNMS Viewer. Colored stream centerlines display the validation status of flood hazard studies in the FEMA CNMS Inventory, while polygons are used to hold the supporting data used to make the validation decisions.

Image of the Coordinated Needs Management Strategy (CNMS) GIS Viewer with color-coded lines to illustrate validation statuses for FEMA's flood hazard studies shown on the map. Green reflects a 'Valid' status, red reflects an 'Unverified' status, purple reflects an 'Unknown' status, blue reflects an 'Assessed' status.

Understanding the Validation Process

The CNMS Inventory is managed by updating the validation status of flood hazard studies  (i.e., Valid, Unverified, Unknown, Assessed), adding new study needs, and including new input and submitted mapping needs requests from registered CNMS account users.

During update and maintenance cycles of the CNMS Inventory, the CNMS Validation Process evaluates a study against 17 possible PCE changes that may have occurred since the date the FIRM took effect for the geographic area, including changes in land use, new/removed bridges and/or culverts, and accounting for recent flood events captured by gage data. Additionally, FEMA re-evaluates all studies in the CNMS Inventory every 5 years. Studies that meet FEMA’s current validity standards are assigned a “Valid” status. Valid studies are also referred to as being “NVUE compliant”, meaning the  studies were completed using up-to-date engineering methodology and/or conducted in areas where significant PCE changes have not occurred since the date of the effective flood hazard study/FIRM for the area. A study that does not pass the validity checks is assigned an “Unverified” status; such areas may either be eligible to receive resources for a restudy or  a restudy may already be underway. An “Unknown” status indicates that a study is  being evaluated, an evaluation is planned, or insufficient  information is available to determine validation status. An “Assessed” status indicates that an evaluation of a study has recently been completed and the study meets current validity standards.

Community officials and planners should find that viewing the validation status types is useful for tracking and making informed map update investment decisions. Viewing the validation status types also should enhance data-driven planning activities for map update prioritization efforts.

Requesting a User Account

All visitors to the CNMS application may view CNMS data, including submitted mapping need requests and validation statuses of flood hazard studies nationwide. Authorized and registered CNMS account users may submit a request for a mapping need in their affiliated FEMA Region.

To request a CNMS user account, you must be a local community, State, or Federal official approved by FEMA (i.e., regional floodplain administrators, elected community officials, city planners). Contact your FEMA Region for more information on eligibility requirements for an account.

Getting Assistance

For additional user resources, view the CNMS User Tutorial and associated Fact Sheet. The CNMS User Tutorial is a step-by-step guide to the functionality in the CNMS tool, including how to request a user account and how to submit a mapping needs request.

For more information about flood hazard mapping, floodplain management, or other information provided on this page, contact a Map Specialist in the FEMA Map Information eXchange (FMIX) through the following methods:

  • Call (1-877) FEMA MAP (1-877-336-2627) Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. through 6:30 p.m. Eastern.
  • Send an e-mail message to
  • Chat with a Map Specialist Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Eastern.
Last Updated: 
02/19/2019 - 09:59