Senator Reed received the award for introducing S. 1938, a FEMA flood mapping reform bill. It included provisions such as acquiring current and accurate elevation data using state-of-the-art mapping technologies (LiDAR) and services, mapping by watershed instead of political boundary and re-establishing the Technical Mapping Advisory Council (TMAC). Reed's reforms were included in the FEMA bill enacted into law in 2012. P.L. 112-141 included reauthorizing the Highway and FEMA Flood programs into the "MAP-21 Act." The bill also included provisions led by Reed to require National Flood Insurance Program rate maps to use “the most accuratetopography and elevation data available.”
The elevation provisions provide a specific Congressional authorization for the 3D Elevation Program being launched by the U.S. Geological Survey. This is significant because the NSDI, The National Map nor IFTN were specifically authorized by Congress; s a result, they either floundered or never got adequate funding. Section 100220 develops a funding strategy to leverage and coordinate budgets and expenditures, and to maintain or establish joint funding and other agreement mechanisms with other federal agencies and units of state and local government to share in the collection and utilization of geospatial data among all governmental users, and specifically mentions OMB, FEMA, USGS, NOAA and USACE. Section 100121 includes a NAPA study on how FEMA can improve interagency and intergovernmental coordination on flood mapping, including a funding strategy to leverage and coordinate budgets and expenditures, and establish joint funding mechanisms with other federal agencies and units of state and local government to share the collection and utilization of data among all governmental users.
The award was created in honor of the late Congressman George E. Brown, Jr. and the contributions he made to advance the benefits of imagery and geospatial information to society. The George E. Brown, Jr. Congressional Honor Award is presented periodically to recognize members of the U.S. Congress whose leadership and personal efforts have advanced the science, engineering, application, education and commerce of imaging and geospatial information.