On the 19th of August, FEMA formally announced release of its new Flood Map Service Center (MSC). According to the announcement:
The FEMA Risk MAP program is pleased to announce the successful launch of the newly redesigned FEMA Flood Map Service Center (MSC). In addition to a streamlined and intuitive user interface, the upgraded MSC provides a number of new features and benefits to the public.
Importantly, the MSC is requesting feedback from the public on the site's layout and usability. Details below:
(FEMA News Bulletin, August 19, 2014)
Comments: Per feedback, here's a couple of quick first impressions.
- Kudos to FEMA for working to improve delivery of the associated suite of products.
- Product search engine does a nice job of pulling in all available items for an area location (city).
- The geocoder for street addresses needs improvement - my Minnesota street address defaulted to Missouri instead of offering choices.
- Placement of the MSC inside the standard FEMA web layout creates confusing and distracting top and lower borders/menus.
- MAP Center? How about placing the interactive map on the home page?
- Find in the header of site's MSC map search interface the following: "To find your flood map, enter an address, a place, or a set of longitude/latitude coordinates (emphasis added)." REALLY FEMA? How about also offering a search based on the U.S. National Grid? Try this. And, several versions of the code are available for free so there is no excuse except institutional inertia gone bad.