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Map Modernization

Flood Map Modernization (Map Mod), a multiyear Presidential initiative funded by Congress from fiscal year (FY) 2003 to FY2008, improved and updated the nation’s flood maps and provided 92 percent of the nation’s population with digital Flood Insurance Rate Maps.

Map Mod introduced a new way of doing business and laid the foundation for the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA’s) Risk Mapping, Assessment and Planning (Risk MAP) program.

Map Mod used state-of-the-art technology and advanced engineering to increase the quality, reliability, and availability of flood hazard maps and data and employed a collaborative process to involve state, regional and local partners in mapping tasks. In addition to providing more accurate and up-to-date flood hazard information, Map Mod enhanced community officials’ and citizens’ decision-making and their ability to manage risks and other issues locally.

An overview of the Map Mod program is provided in the sections below.

To learn more about significant planning documents and tools developed for the Map Mod program, follow the links below.

Why Modernize

Map Mod responded to National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) requirements and feedback provided by federal, state and local program stakeholders.

  • Flood hazard conditions are dynamic and many NFIP maps did not reflect recent development and/or natural changes in the environment.
  • Updated NFIP maps were needed to take advantage of revised data and improved technologies for identifying flood hazards.
  • Up-to-date maps were needed to support a flood insurance program that was more closely aligned with actual risk, encouraged wise community-based floodplain management and improved citizens’ flood hazard awareness.

Local communities and various stakeholders desired more timely updates of flood maps and easier access to the flood hazard data used to create the maps.

What Changed?

With the launch of Map Mod, FEMA began using state-of-the-art technology to increase the quality, reliability and availability of flood hazard maps and data. These improvements have continued and are reflected in the data and products developed under FEMA’s successor Risk MAP program.

  • Advanced engineering streamlined studies/mapping projects and improved results.
  • Capturing interim data throughout the study/mapping project process enabled access to mapping products earlier in the process.
  • Refined standards resulted in improved data quality.
  • 95 percent of the paper flood map distribution was eliminated as FEMA transitioned from the paper map printing process to an all-digital mapping inventory through the implementation of a Digital Flood Map Policy.
  • Flood maps are now delivered in an industry-standard Geographic Information System (GIS) format allowing for easier viewing and analysis.
  • The FEMA Mapping Information Platform (MIP) was developed to give stakeholders improved access to flood hazard data through the Web. The MIP promoted data sharing with mapping partners, improved interoperability with existing data sources and helped make flood map updates quicker and cheaper.
  • In collaboration with mapping partners and other stakeholders, FEMA developed a 5-year Multi-Year Flood Hazard Identification Plan (MHIP) for updating the nation's flood hazard data.  This was a living document that was updated annually through a collaborative process to engage stakeholders and was also updated to reflect the Flood Map Modernization Mid-Course Adjustment
  • The status of Map Mod funded projects were publicized in the FY10 Flood Mapping Progress Report and Production Plan and the Risk MAP FY09 Flood Mapping Production Plan and associated fact sheet. Information on Map Mod and Risk MAP funded projects is now available through the interactive MIP Studies Tracker.

Who Made it Happen?

The Map Mod program was a collaborative process and a new way of doing business, cutting across all layers of government and other organizations.

  • FEMA data was shared with other federal agencies.
  • FEMA partnerships with state, regional and local stakeholders allowed partners to choose their level of involvement in mapping tasks such as collecting, updating and adopting flood data.
  • Fostering collaboration with federal, state and local partners, Map Mod helped improve and maintain the quality of the flood hazard data produced for the NFIP.

The FEMA-contracted National Service Provider assisted FEMA with improving consistency throughout the nation and streamlining the goals of Map Mod through innovation and partnerships.

How Did it Help?

New data reflecting current flood hazard conditions enabled citizens to more reliably assess their flood risk and take appropriate action to mitigate (i.e., reduce their physical and financial vulnerability to flooding).

  • Communities were empowered to update maps and data as changes occurred.
  • Goals and outcomes were aligned among mapping partners.
  • The MIP supported integration of multi-hazard data and provided a broader view of total risk.
  • Through the adoption and implementation of the NFIP’s Digital Flood Map Policy, a reduction in costs associated with paper map production, handling and storage was seen and the overall usability of flood mapping products improved through the transition to a digital format.
  • Delivering flood hazard information in an industry-standard GIS format provided community officials and others with more viewing and analysis options, including easy integration of this information with other local GIS data layers to assist in community planning efforts.
  • Preparing flood maps in a comprehensive countywide map format allowed communities to understand flood hazards in adjoining communities and, as a result, obtain a more holistic picture of flood hazards in their vicinity.

Who Benefited?

Map Mod benefited a broad array of NFIP stakeholders:

  • Community planners and local officials gained an improved understanding of the flood hazards and risks that affect their community.
  • Builders and developers had detailed information for making decisions on where to build safely and how construction could affect flood hazards.
  • Insurance agents and companies, real estate agents and companies and lending institutions had one-stop access to flood map updates and upcoming changes.
  • Homeowners and business owners could make more informed decisions about their current flood risks.

For More Information

If you have additional questions about FEMA’s mapping products or need additional assistance, you can:

Last Updated: 
02/19/2019 - 10:43