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Flood, Fraud, and FEMA

  • 1.  Flood, Fraud, and FEMA

    Pitney Bowes
    Posted 05-16-2019 21:55
    The article embedded below absolutely floored me. Over the past 5 years, FEMA has allowed 150,000 map changes. That fact alone reflects how inaccurate FEMA data must be, but even worse, many of these requests have been made by developers who knowingly built houses on soil mounds inside of flood zones. The new elevation measurement just barely squeaks the property out of the 100 year flood zone, and that means flood insurance is not required. The trickle down effect is that the home is cheaper to buy and easier to sell. We clearly don't have an accurate nor authoritative solution for flood risk in the U.S., and developers are raking it in while uninformed homeowners pay the price. This is a new type of fraud which I'm sure lawyers will also cash out on soon enough. Data that provides a clear view of realistic flood risk for properties in Zone C - as well as properties bordering the 100 year flood zone - has never been as valuable as it is now.

    https://www.nytimes.com/2017/12/02/us/houston-flood-zone-hurricane-harvey.html



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    Bryan Bonack
    Data Product Manager
    Pitney Bowes
    Boulder, CO
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  • 2.  RE: Flood, Fraud, and FEMA

    Pitney Bowes
    Posted 05-17-2019 10:49
    Maybe we could emphasize Z-level values with parcels attribution data that could be cross-referenced with the flood risk data to flag such occurrences?

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    [Chris] [Mabey]
    [Sr. Manager]
    [Pitney Bowes Software and Data Solutions]
    [White River Jct.] [Vermont]
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  • 3.  RE: Flood, Fraud, and FEMA

    Pitney Bowes
    Posted 05-17-2019 12:18
    Bryan,
        The Buildings product offers a high and low elevation for the building which could be used for flood risk.  Adding in parcels would provide the elevation at the parcel centroid I believe.  Using all three would provide the most information about the flood risk for any particular plot of land.

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    Jeffrey Howe
    Quality Assurance Lead
    Pitney Bowes
    White River Junction VT
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  • 4.  RE: Flood, Fraud, and FEMA

    Pitney Bowes
    Posted 05-17-2019 13:15
    Jeff,

    No doubt - we are researching how to provide elevation profiles (8+ unique measurements) for every building and parcel polygon across the U.S. This would not only tell you how likely a property is to experience flooding based on its elevation, but also on which side of the house, which part of the parcel, etc.

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    Bryan Bonack
    Data Product Manager
    Pitney Bowes
    Boulder, CO
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  • 5.  RE: Flood, Fraud, and FEMA

    Pitney Bowes
    Posted 05-17-2019 12:58
    Chris,

    That is a possible resolution. If we look at vintage releases of Parcel boundaries and identify centroid elevation before FEMA map changes (we would also need to look for vintage releases of FEMA flood zones), we could ball park when the fraud took place and by how much.

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    Bryan Bonack
    Data Product Manager
    Pitney Bowes
    Boulder, CO
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  • 6.  RE: Flood, Fraud, and FEMA

    Pitney Bowes
    Posted 05-17-2019 21:00

    Thank you for sharing this article, Bryan.  Digitizing flood information used to be a very manual process, perhaps it still is.  Fifteen years ago when I was starting my career, the consulting firm I worked for handled the creation of flood information for FEMA Region IX.  The deliverables consisted of Digital Flood Insurance Rate Maps (DFIRM) and Flood Insurance Studies (FIS).

    Are any in the community updating DFRIMS at either a local/project or Region level to incorporate new development?

    With parallel advances in both computing power and location intelligence software's ability to leverage distributed computing, there is a clear opportunity to combine LIDAR data with the GeoHash process mentioned in a previous post by @Dan Adams and @john merola to develop an authoritative and updatable source of Z-values by address, building, parcel...? 

    ​​

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    Colin Mattison
    Solution Consultant
    Pitney Bowes
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  • 7.  RE: Flood, Fraud, and FEMA

    Pitney Bowes
    Posted 12 days ago
    Hi Colin
    Prototype on incorportaing lidar based elevation value for parcel and building footprint has completed recently by data team at Noida and is under evaluation by few prospects along with data PMs (Lamont and Bryan). The same can be made available at geohash level if required.
    Concept and prototype data is available with Lamont/Bryan/Me, if interested in evaluating the same.

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    Dr Neena Priyanka
    Pitney Bowes Software India PVT. Ltd
    Noida
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