Upgrading FEMA flood maps would save lives

It's been using maps that let people know about flooding risks.
They also regulate development in flood plains and set flood
insurance rates. And they're in dire need of updating.

FEMA has been bringing the flood maps up to date over the past
five years. But a new report from the National Research Council
says FEMA would be better off using LIDAR (LY'-dahr), an optical
sensing technology, to determine areas of greatest risk.

Right now, FEMA is using data from the U.S. Geological Survey's
National Elevation Dataset.

Asked if better flood maps could save lives and property, a FEMA
spokesman says that all depends on how local communities choose to
use the improved information.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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