Merrick and Co. to map Wichita flood plains

Published 3 January 2007

Kansas city decides to invest $600,000 in geospatial mapping; uncertain flood boundaries harm development and frustrate insurance companies; Merrick, a specialist in LIDAR data, will assay 12.5 square miles of Sunflower State terrain

Of all natural disasters, tornados are most typically associated with Kansas. After all, what would have been the plot of the Wizard of Oz if Dorothy had been swept away in a flood? But in fact floods are serious business in the Sunflower State, and managing flood plains a constant worry and trouble for farmers, homeowners, and emergency planners alike. The city of Wichita, still smarting from a disatrous 1998 flood, has decided to pump $600,000 into an effort to surveille and map its flood areas, and Aurora, Colorado-based Merrick and Co., an enginering and geospatial solution firm, is just one of the companies to lend a hand. Under the contract, the company will deliver raw and processed LIDAR data, one-foot contours, and color aerial photography for 12.5 square miles within the city limits.

One may ask, why do they need to do this? The reason is that growing uncertainty as to flood locations hampers development and frustrates the efficient allocation of insurance. “The City decided to determine the proper flood boundaries to provide a solid foundation for decision making. Quality mapping is crucial to the success of this project,” said one government official. “The mapping data will be used to determine flood boundaries that will have a significant impact on economic development in the area.” The results will also be presented in the form of a Letter of Map Revision to FEMA in a format that will allow expedient approval of the city’s Digital Flood Insurance Rate Map submittal.

-read more in this company news release