INFIP: A one-stop shop for floodplain information on IndianaPosted on Oct 27, 2015
Did You Know?
16.4 million people across the US live in a floodplain? Did you also know that rivers may change their course over a period of time? This means that those who didn’t live in a floodplain when they purchased their property may be living in one now.
INFIP is a free and interactive mapping application that provides the most up to date and comprehensive coverage of floodplain information for the State of Indiana. I interviewed Lacey Duncan, GIS analyst at The Polis Center, to learn how INFIP is helping Indiana residents better assess their flood risk.
Deeksha: What is INFIP?
Lacey INFIP is a one-stop shop for flood data on Indiana. Anyone can go to the site (http://dnrmaps.dnr.in.gov/appsphp/fdms/), type in an address or county and then access all kinds of helpful flood data.
Deeksha: What kinds of data?
Lacey: INFIP contains information for four data layers: (1) the FEMA current effective floodplain; (2) preliminary mapping proposed by FEMA, including in Marion, Johnson, and Brown counties; (3) IDNR’s best available data layer by IDNR, which includes new studies not yet integrated into flood insurance rate maps; and (4) flood elevation data for nearly 12,000 miles of stream.
Deeksha: Why is this portal valuable to Indiana residents?
Lacey: INFIP delivers the most up to date floodplains to the public and also provides people with faster submission and response times. Residents can use this portal to learn more about flood risks in their communities by accessing FEMA’s flood insurance studies, which are used to determine whether flood insurance is necessary and also provide resources and guidance concerning building permits for construction of both residential and non-residential properties around floodplains.
And, as a bonus, INFIP is an electronic resource so it reduces paper waste and management.
Deeksha: Who are the primary users of INFIP?
Lacey: INFIP contains a wealth of data and, over the period of time, it has developed a broad user-base. Homebuyers, realtors, insurance agents, engineers, surveyors, local administration, and permit officials are using INFIP to equip themselves with floodplain information.
Deeksha: What makes INFIP so unique?
Lacey: The point and select feature. You find a location on the map that you want to know more about, and then select it (see below screenshot). The application has technology to connect from the point selected, perpendicular to stream flow to determine the flood elevation. So with one click of the mouse, the user learns the effective flood zone, approximate flooding elevation, and nearest stream.
INFIP also allows you to submit a request for a floodplain analysis or regulatory assessment (eFARA) from the Division of Water. And you can find the contact information for your local floodplain agency managers who can answer your questions related to flood insurance. These contacts are great for understanding your next steps at the local level.
Deeksha: Can you give us some example(s) of how people have used this tool?
Lacey: People use INFIP for multiple reasons. Homebuyers access INFIP to find out whether or not their property is in a flood zone. Buying a property in a floodplain is not only more expensive, considering the cost of annual flood insurance premiums, it also puts your property at a higher flood risk. Additionally, if a user wants to build a non-residential building, floodplain information can inform him about how high he may have to elevate the building to get the appropriate local and/or state permits.
Deeksha: What is so unique about the best available data layer that Polis is updating?
Lacey: The best available data layer contains thousands of miles of updated floodplain studies, particularly in rural areas without existing floodplain studies. Recent statewide initiatives for more accurate elevation and stream centerline locations allowed IDNR to model a massive amount of streams with little costs.
Some states might provide GIS data from FEMA, however, it is not believed that any state has tackled this type of a project at this scale. The idea of maintaining statewide floodplain datasets is very cumbersome for many. Additionally, the development of the flood elevation dots is also very time consuming. To date, INFIP contains nearly more than 1.3 million points!
Click here to access INFIP.