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Delivering integrated HAZUS-MH flood loss analyses and flood inundation maps over the Web

Paul P. Hearn Jr, PhD, Herbert E. "Gene" Longenecker III, MS, Ami N. Rahav


Catastrophic flooding is responsible for more loss of life and damages to property than any other natural hazard. Recently developed flood inundation mapping technologies make it possible to view the extent and depth of flooding on the land surface over the Internet; however, by themselves these technologies are unable to provide estimates of losses to property and infrastructure.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA's) HAZUS-MH software is extensively used to conduct flood loss analyses in the United States, providing a nationwide database of population and infrastructure at risk. Unfortunately, HAZUS-MH requires a dedicated Geographic Information System (GIS) workstation and a trained operator, and analyses are not adapted for convenient delivery over the Web.

This article describes a cooperative effort by the US Geological Survey (USGS) and FEMA to make HAZUS-MH output GIS and Web compatible and to integrate these data with digital flood inundation maps in USGS’s newly developed Inundation Mapping Web Portal. By running the computationally intensive HAZUS-MH flood analyses offline and converting the output to a Web-GIS compatible format, detailed estimates of flood losses can now be delivered to anyone with Internet access, thus dramatically increasing the availability of these forecasts to local emergency planners and first responders.


flooding, natural hazards, HAZUS, USGS, FEMA, risk, GIS

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USGS: HAZUS-MH Data Extractor. Available at Accessed April 24, 2012.



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