FEMA Flood Maps: Some Standards and Processes in Place to Promote Map Accuracy and Outreach, but Opportunities Exist to Address Implementation Challenges, Report to Congressional Requesters   [open pdf - 6MB]

"The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), a component of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), maps flood hazard areas across the country and makes flood insurance available to more than 20,100 communities through the National Flood Insurance Program. From 2003 through 2008, FEMA spent $1.2 billion in a comprehensive effort to update the nation's flood insurance maps. In 2009, FEMA began an annual review of 20 percent of the nation's flood maps, for which Congress allocated $440 million in 2009 and 2010. As requested, GAO [Government Accountability Office] reviewed the actions FEMA has taken to enhance the accuracy of updated flood maps, and FEMA's outreach efforts in conducting flood mapping activities. GAO analyzed FEMA's mapping standards and information systems, tested quality assurance processes, and interviewed FEMA officials and contractors. [...] Among other things, GAO recommends that FEMA establish guidance for validating data, transfer responsibility for verification audits to an independent entity, and establish goals and measures for promoting public acceptance of mapping. FEMA concurred with 10 of the 11 recommendations in this report, but disagreed with transferring verification audit duties to an independent entity because it believes its program management contractor is sufficiently independent. GAO believes this recommendation remains valid as stated in this report."

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Government Accountability Office: http://www.gao.gov/
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