May 17, 2022

Open Data: FEMA Releases New Disaster Data Visualization Tool

From the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA):

FEMA collects data from disasters.  We look at various hazards over time, and a question we get a lot when we’re trying to talk about what can happen is what has happened previously?

Providing data in its raw format and also building visualization tools allows people to look at their past history, look at what kind of hazards they are vulnerable to, and look at the frequency of disaster declarations and the impacts. These are useful tools to give people context to what their past looks like when they are planning for future risk.

As our first data visualization tool that we soft launched, it didn’t have a lot of refinement. But people were surprised by some of the states with high frequent disaster declarations and people didn’t even realize how many times their states had declarations. This gives you a way to take a lot of data at your home state to see how many times it’s been declared, and some people are surprised by how many times they have been declared or how infrequently they have been declared.

The only way you could previously get that is by going disaster by disaster (on the web) or sifting through the raw data to try to look it up.

By visualizing the data, you can point and click to explore the data without having to go through all of those previous disasters.

The visualization uses historical disaster declaration data to show you everything from seasonal risk to specific types of hazards and patterns, for both local communities and Tribal governments.

As we’ve done with disasters, we’ve maintained specific pages and information for those disasters that may not be available in that visualization tool, so we link to it. It’s important, so if you have a question about a particular disaster, like in my home state of Florida with Hurricane Andrew, you can see Andrew and you see the big dollar impacts.

Read the Complete Intro Blog Post

Direct to FEMA Data Visualizations

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.