Practical Field Survey Operations for Flood Insurance Rate Maps

Open-File Report 2020-1146
Prepared in cooperation with the Federal Emergency Management Agency
By:  and 



The U.S. Geological Survey assists the Federal Emergency Management Agency in its mission to identify flood hazards and zones for risk premiums for communities nationwide, by creating flood insurance rate maps through updating hydraulic models that use river geometry data. The data collected consist of elevations of river channels, banks, and structures, such as bridges, dams, and weirs that can affect flow. To account for the model complexity of river structure hydraulics and the fidelity between river channel and structure geometry, two distinct standards for collecting geometry data are presented, both using global navigation satellite system real-time network surveying. This method is adapted from U.S. Geological Survey manuals and is foundational in hydraulic surveying for flood insurance rate maps.

Suggested Citation

Taylor, N.J., and Simeone, C.E., 2021, Practical field survey operations for flood insurance rate maps: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2020–1146, 8 p.,

ISSN: 2331-1258 (online)

Table of Contents

  • Abstract
  • Introduction
  • Procedures for Surveying Hydraulic Structures
  • Procedures for Surveying Cross Sections
  • Procedures for Metadata Quality Control
  • Limitations on Use
  • Summary
  • Acknowledgments
  • References Cited
  • Glossary
Publication type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Title Practical field survey operations for flood insurance rate maps
Series title Open-File Report
Series number 2020-1146
DOI 10.3133/ofr20201146
Year Published 2021
Language English
Publisher U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location Reston, VA
Contributing office(s) New England Water Science Center
Description iv, 8 p.
Online Only (Y/N) Y
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N
Google Analytic Metrics Metrics page
Additional publication details