Advances in Floodplain Modeling and Mapping

Uzair (Sam) Shamsi


Accurate floodplain maps are the key to better floodplain management. The days of expensive and unwieldy floodplain mapping “by hand” using paper maps are long gone. However, much of the analysis in floodplain management studies is still performed using separate modeling and mapping programs, which is less efficient than an integrated modeling and mapping approach.

Today, new technologies, such as GIS, GPS, and remote sensing are helping the floodplain managers to create accurate and current floodplain maps with improved efficiency and speed at a reasonable cost. Today, it is possible to create floodplain maps that are dynamically linked to hydrologic and hydraulic models. This linkage allows more efficient map updates if the hydrologic or hydraulic parameters are changed. This paper will describe the latest technology and applications for developing floodplain models and maps. Examples and case studies; including FEMA’s Map Modernization (MapMod) and FEMA’s new Risk Mapping, Assessment, and Planning (Risk MAP) programs; will be presented to illustrate the advances in floodplain modeling and mapping applications.

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