Tuesday, August 26, 2014

FEMA Looking For Comments on Its New Flood Map Service Center

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.

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