FEMA engages in Floodplain Mapping for insurance rating. The Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs) are based on hydraulic and hydrologic studies captured at the time of the data review. The FIRMS are only as good as the data used at the time of completion. Because of this we consider updates from local government and private land owners. Depending upon the science presented as consideration for an update, the outcome of the update may be issued as a Letter of Map Change or LOMC. The letter may then be revalidated or rescinded depending on natural or man-made changes to the floodplain.
Here’s were these letters get in the way of cost and time efficiency: They are mailed to several entities and are stored in many different databases.
FEMA has an online database called the Map Service Center that is the hub of printed maps, studies and these LOMCs. This website is well known to the mapping stakeholders, state, local and federal government professionals and is publically accessible. The LOMCs are filed with the map panels and are easily obtained for download or can be printed off the website. There are no proprietary rights associated with the LOMCs and there are no security issues with access.
We at the region need to receive actual printed copies that we then have to scan in a copier, add to a database (redundancy), and then shred the physical copy?
I receive at least 10 of these per week. Other reps get equal or better and overall the Regions may be getting hundreds per week. The cost of handling these letters: paying for postage, scanning, filing and destroying them, could be a great savings for our agency. My suggestion is this:
Mail a copy of the LOMC to the land owner and one to the local government. Period. Everyone else can obtain these letters from the acceptable repository at the Map Service Center or write to FEMA HQ to obtain a physical copy.