Flood Maps and Google Earth

082511FEMA has a pretty good online mapping tool for flood insurance maps but if you are a fan of Google Earth, there is a nice overlay for that too. You need to have downloaded Google Earth to your computer. Then you simply add on one of FEMA’s map layers to the program through another download here.

FEMA offers two free overlays for Google Earth: “Stay Dry” is a focused application that provides basic flood hazard map information from FEMA’s National Flood Hazard Layer for an address. It allows you to view flood hazard zones, cross sections and their labels, community names and boundaries, Flood Insurance Rate Map numbers and boundaries, and Letter of Map Revision case numbers and boundaries.

“FEMA NFHL” offers multiple layers of information. It is a general application that provides for the display of flood hazard zones, floodways, Coastal Barrier Resources System and Otherwise Protected Area units, community boundaries and names, base flood elevations, cross sections and coastal transects and their labels, hydraulic and flood control structures, and Flood Insurance Rate Map and Letter of Map Revision boundaries and numbers. Additional reference layers include the status of NFHL data availability, point locations for Letters of Map Amendment (LOMAs) and Letters of Map Revision Based on Fill (LOMR–Fs), Q3 base flood, and subbasin hydrologic units. You control the information displayed by turning layers on and off. A basic knowledge of Google Earth and FEMA flood hazard information will help users of this application.


Senior Information Specialist

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  1. Greg

    do you know of anything like this for Europe or Asia?

  2. Anita Ask

    Google Earth, the latest software application from the Internet giant Google, aims to change all this. One of the main features of this application is that it promises you minutely detailed maps of any location in this world. Even pictures of man-made building, trees, parks, mountains are available, if you so desire, in 3-D. It’s a method of information gathering for any specific location in this world. Google Earth is quite simply, an extraordinary technological feat. At a stroke, it has dominated the cartographical business. All you need is a computer and an Internet connection. Just download the software and you can discover the world from your desktop.”.

    My own, personal web site

  3. Kevin Cupples, Seaside, OR Planning Director

    I just went into Google Earth to obtain flood plain information and the format has been changed. The prior format was very usable since you could see through the shaded flood plain layer. The new patterns are now too dense and I cannot see through them. It has now rendered the tool unusable since you can no longer see the base aerial image located underneath the flood plain image. Was this done by FEMA or is it something that Google Earth changed? Is there any way to get the old version back?

  4. Dan

    Dave, thanks so much for posting this! It’s been 5 years since you wrote this blog post, but I’m glad it’s still out on the Internet. This was much easier than I expected and now I can see if I’m in the 100-year flood plain (I’m not) but also how close I am (a little too close for comfort, but better than my neighbor!)

    Thanks again!!


  5. I too think thus, perfectly written post!