DFIRM GIS tool makes FEMA map production and formatting easy and quick.

In support of the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA’s) Map Modernization Program, PBS&J announced the availability of the DFIRM Tools Extension v1.0 for ESRI ArcGIS 8.2, a software extension designed to quickly and easily update and produce flood maps that meet the new FEMA DFIRM (Digital Flood Insurance Rate Map) specifications. Now available on CD from PBS&J, this extension has already gained high approval marks from a wide range of users, from floodplain managers to surveyors and engineers, for its ability to produce DFIRM data and customized DFIRM maps within a high-volume map production environment.

“In today’s high-tech environment, digital floodplain map updates must follow FEMA specifications and standards. In recent years, these FEMA specifications have become more complex; our goal is to make that process easier, thereby improving the map update process while ensuring the continuing accuracy of this critical resource,” said Tom Schweitzer, program manager with PBS&J for the National Flood Insurance Program.

DFIRM Tools Extension v.1.0 incorporates FEMA’s Standard DFIRM Database Specifications and offers a range of cartographic, layout and data handling features developed to work within ESRI’s ArcGIS 8.2 framework. In short, the tool automatically molds the user’s floodplain data into FEMA’s specifications and builds the database that links the data layers together. Drop-down menus make it easy for users to select a region, access DFIRM data and apply FEMA’s cartographic specifications. Once selected, standard information such as community names, identification number, and related map panels are automatically pulled from the DFIRM database.

In minutes, the analyst can produce a standard DFIRM layout with custom map user notes and title block. Updated base maps, including digital orthophoto quadrangles (DOQs), can be loaded onto the working map tile with the simple click of a button. With a few clicks, the extension tool’s layout feature allows users to create a custom FEMA DFIRM frame by selecting from a list of options that includes map print size, legends, special notes and much more. Future enhancements to the DFIRM Tools Extension and release of v2.0 are anticipated in late spring and summer 2003. This release includes a new rule-base to automate additional routine functions, a metadata generator, an upgrade to ArcGIS 8.3, “wizard”-based interfaces, and integration of FEMA’s Standard DFIRM database with ESRI’s geodatabase data model.

The DFIRM Extension Tool concepts have also been applied to Bentley’s MicroStation CAD environment to convert spatial data and related information into FEMA’s Standard DFIRM database format. To receive your copy of the DFIRM GIS, contact Joshua Price at 301/210-6800.