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The Digital Flood Insurance Rate Map (DFIRM) Project

A GIS-aided, national flood map modernization program

The State of Tennessee and its local governments have participated in the National Flood Insurance Program since its inception in 1968.  Participation in the program makes affordable flood insurance available to individual property owners, and makes certain disaster assistance available to local governments and private property owners. For the program to be successful the following three elements have to be in place:

  • State government must accept and commit to the flood plain management principles of the National Flood Insurance Program.
  • Each city or county government that chooses to participate must adopt flood management regulations and enforce those rules for flood plain development.
  • Both the State and local governments must have accurate and available flood risk identification tools on which to base their land management decisions.

The vast majority of flood risk identification data for Tennessee was acquired during the middle 1970’s and was inadequate at that time.  It remains inadequate today.

Flood map modernization is a program that will greatly improve the information used to establish the risk in flood plain development and will allow the insurance industry to make better policy determinations.  Moving from paper maps to an integrated digital resource will expand access to flood risk data using both state and federal data access portals. Using the digital base map currently being created and implemented through the Tennessee Base Mapping Program only makes sense.  The goal of the Tennessee Base Mapping Program is to create a high accuracy base maps that allows a variety of information to be spatially related through Geographic Information System technology.  Not only will many pieces of information be available for analysis by establishing flood mapping on the state’s digital base map, the value of the mapping will be leveraged to request the maximum amount of funds available for Tennessee Flood Map Modernization. 

The final product will be a flood risk map accessible via the internet that allows private property owners, local regulatory officials, lenders, insurers, and design professionals a more accurate digital flood insurance rate map in each county and municipality of Tennessee.


Amy Miller

Tennessee Flood Mapping Coordinator