Aurora, Colo. – Merrick & Company, a world leader in LIDAR, digital ortho imaging, photogrammetry and GIS mapping was awarded a contract by HNTB (Kansas City, Missouri) to deliver raw and processed LIDAR data, one-foot contours, and color aerial photography for 12.5 square miles the City of Wichita, Kansas. Awarded in December 2006, final delivery of all data products is scheduled for the middle of March 2007. Gary Outlaw, GISP, Merrick’s Vice President of Business Development, GeoSpatial Solutions states, “All data will be delivered in accordance with FEMA guidelines and Specifications for Flood Hazard Mapping Partners.”

According to Jeff Evans, P.E., Water Resources, HNTB, “We chose Merrick because of their technical LIDAR capabilities, competitive pricing, and ability to work with our aggressive schedule.”

In the fall of 1998, high rainfall caused flooding in many parts of Wichita. One of the primary contributors to the unexpectedly high flood elevations in the project area was a diversion of water from the nearby Dry Creek basin into the Northfork Calfskin Creek. Evans states, “The transfer of water during large rain fall significantly increases the discharges and water surface elevations beyond what is shown in the effective FEMA Flood Insurance Study for this area.”

The uncertainty associated with the flooding potential has raised concerns over the citizen safety and is slowing development of the region, which negatively affects commerce. Wichita’s population is rapidly increasing and new construction is needed. Evans explains, “The City decided to determine the proper flood boundaries to provide a solid foundation for decision making. Quality mapping is crucial to the success of this project.” Since the project area is very flat, the overflow problem is probable in several locations. These locations must be accurately sited to properly assess the magnitude of the problem. “The mapping data will be used to determine flood boundaries that will have a significant impact on economic development in the area,” Evans concludes.

The results of this determination will be presented, at the end of 2007, in the form of a Letter of Map Revision to FEMA in a format that will allow expedient approval of the Digital Flood Insurance Rate Map submittal.

Visit HNTB and the City of Wichita’s GIS Department on the Web, respectively.