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Flood Map

The purpose of this page is to define a flood map, a commonly used term in floodplain management.


A Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM), Flood Boundary and Floodway Map (FBFM), and Flood Hazard Boundary Map (FHBM) are all flood maps produced by FEMA. The FIRM is the most common type of map and most communities have this type of map. At a minimum, flood maps show flood risk zones and their boundaries, and may also show floodways and Base Flood Elevations (BFEs). The FBFM is a version of a flood map that shows only the floodway and flood boundaries. The FBFM is no longer produced; current FIRMs include all of this information. The FHBM is an older version of a flood map and is based on approximate data.

More recent flood map products include digital FIRMs, which are created using digital methods and can be incorporated into a community's Geographic Information System (GIS). FEMA has also produced Q3 Flood Data, which includes certain features of the FIRM, and may be used for insurance purposes and planning activities. The Q3 cannot be used as the official NFIP map for site design or flood risk determinations.

NFIP Requirement

64.3 - Definition


IS-9 Managing Floodplain Development Through The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) (PDF 8MB) (entire document)

  • Pages 3-34 to 3-47, NFIP flood maps
  • Page 3-18, Floodplain maps

Related Keywords

Base Flood Elevation (BFE)
Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM)
Flood Insurance Study (FIS)
Flood Zones

Special Topic Resources

Last Updated: 
10/02/2019 - 11:44