This patent application has not been assigned to a company or institution.
The following quote was obtained by the news editors from the background information supplied by the inventors: "Organizations such as the
"A party interested in flood information typically relies on a service provider to perform a flood zone determination. Using the street address of the property, the service provider locates the address on special maps to determine the flood insurance rate zone for that address. However, manual determination of a flood zone is a time-consuming process, and service providers have developed complex computer software in an attempt to automate flood zone determinations.
"Automated flood zone determination involves two steps. In the first step, a user enters a street address into special geocoding software which determines the longitude and latitude coordinates associated with the given street address. Methods of geocoding are known in the art. In the second step, special flood zone determination software uses the longitude and latitude coordinates to find the location in a database of digitized flood zone maps. Methods of flood zone determinations are known in the art. For example,
"However, there are several known deficiencies in the current automated flood zone determination systems. First, not every location has a precise street address. In some rural locations, houses may be identified only by a mailing address, for example, 'Route 4 Box 17.' Or, in an area under development, there simply may be no street name available. Second, even where there is a known street address, the system is still subject to human error. A user entering the address may transpose digits, enter the wrong street name/type, or enter the wrong city or state. For example, '100 Main Street,
"Therefore, what is needed in an automated flood determination system is a mechanism that not only speeds up the process but provides precise latitude and longitude coordinates for all real properties, thus eliminating the need for geocoding, which is limited to geocodable addresses and has the potential for geocoding errors, and eliminating the need for any manual intervention for locating real property."
In addition to the background information obtained for this patent application, VerticalNews journalists also obtained the inventors' summary information for this patent application: "The present invention incorporates a number of known technologies into a novel system for making flood zone determinations. More particularly, embodiments of the present invention use a mobile application client (an 'App'), written to operate on a properly-equipped mobile communications device, to record and transmit longitude and latitude coordinates and a photograph to a flood search service, written to operate on a traditional computer server. The flood search service interfaces with a flood zone determination system to retrieve the flood insurance rate zone corresponding to the longitude and latitude coordinates and sends that flood insurance rate zone back to the App. The flood search server platform also maintains a database for managing users, requests, and responses. The flood zone determination system is a computer programmed to locate a given set of coordinates in a specific flood insurance rate zone. This includes the application of special algorithms, flood insurance rate maps, regulations, and other rules associated with flood zone determination, to identify the flood insurance rate zone associated with the coordinates.
"By way of example, the present invention could include an App running on a 'smart phone.' The user, through the App's interface, instructs the App to (a) use the smart phone's GPS receiver to record the latitude and longitude of the current location, (b) use the smart phone's camera to take a picture of the current location, and © use the smart phone's data services to send the latitude and longitude coordinates, the picture, and user identification information to a flood search service. The flood search service obtains the flood insurance rate zone from the flood determination server, records the request and results in its local flood search database, and then sends information related to results back to the App. The App then presents the information, which could include the rate zone identifier, map overlays, a formal flood certificate, flood insurance information, and the like, on the smart phone display.
"Thus, the present invention addresses the deficiencies in current flood zone determination systems: Since it provides precise latitude and longitude coordinates rather than relying on geocoding software, it eliminates the uncertainty associated with real properties lacking a precise or non-geocodable street address, it eliminates the uncertainty associated with real properties encompassing multiple flood zones or having structures close to a flood zone, it eliminates the potential for human error associated with manual data entry, and it eliminates the need for manual correction or verification. Since it may associate a photographic record with the latitude and longitude used in determining the flood insurance rate zone, the present invention adds an extra level of confidence in the results. Thus, the present invention completes the flood zone determination for all real properties much faster and more accurately than current systems.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
"FIG. 1 shows a block diagram for an embodiment of the present invention.
"FIG. 2 shows a flow chart of an embodiment of the remote flood zone determination process.
"FIGS. 3a-3d show example user interface screen shots during various steps in an embodiment of the present invention.
"FIG. 4 shows the flow of messages during an embodiment of the remote flood zone determination process."
URL and more information on this patent application, see: Catalano,
Keywords for this news article include: Patents, Software.
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