Elevation Certificate Data Extraction

In this Article

Forerunner streamlines Elevation Certificate management and unlocks your EC data with our customized and automated extraction pipeline. 

How It Works

Our extraction pipeline uses Machine Learning models and Optical Character Recognition (OCR) to pull data from your PDF Elevation Certificates into our dashboard. The process is built to handle both typed and handwritten text, so that you can get information from ECs both new and old. 

The quality of your data is extremely important to us so we've built the pipeline with accuracy in mind. We run each extraction a minimum of two times for comparison. If the extracted values for those runs don't match, we'll run the extraction a third time to confirm.

Uploading an EC for Extraction

Data extraction is an automated process that occurs when you upload your EC into Forerunner. Learn more about adding ECs into Forerunner

Once the EC has processed, you will receive an email notifying you that the process is complete and the EC will appear on both the  Certificates tab of your Forerunner dashboard and on the individual Property Information Panel for the property that the EC is associated with. The EC will also appear on your public-facing Forerunner website until it is hidden.

Note that most ECs are extracted within 24 hours of uploading. If our pipeline detects an error, problematic ECs might take a bit longer to process.

Extracted Fields

Forerunner will extract the following fields from any standard Elevation Certificates uploaded to our platform. Note that older Elevation Certificates versions may not have all listed fields.

A A1. Building Owner's Name
A A2. Building street address
A City
A State
A Zip Code
A A3. Property Description
A A4. Building Use
A A5. Latitude/Longitude
A A7. Building Diagram Number
A A8.a Square footage
A A8.b Number of flood openings
A A8.c Total area of flood openings
A A8.d Engineered flood openings
A A9.a Square footage
A A9.b Number of flood openings
A A9.c Total area of flood openings
A A9.d Engineered flood openings
B B1. NFIP Community Name
B B2. County Name
B B3. State
B B4. Map/Panel Number
B B5. Suffix 
B B6. FIRM Index Date
B B7. FIRM Panel Effective/Revised Date
B B8. Flood Zone(s)
B B9. Base Flood Elevation(s)
B B10. Source of BFE
B B11. Elevation Datum 
C C1. Building Elevations are based on
C C2.a Top of bottom floor
C C2.b Top of next highest floor
C C2.c Bottom of lowest horizontal structural member
C C2.d Attached garage
C C2.e Lowest elevation of machinery or equipment
C C2.f Lowest adjacent grade
C C2.g Highest adjacent grade
C C2.h Lowest adjacent grade at lowest elevation of
           deck or stairs
D Certifier's name & License number
D Date
D Comments

Using Your Transcribed Data

The data from the EC is used in a myriad of ways in the Forerunner system--all intended to streamline EC management and ensure that you can make the most of this data. Once your EC data is extracted it is validated and enriched with data from outside sources (FEMA, parcel databases); then it is used to:

  • Geocode the elevation certificate so the document will automatically show on the Property Information Panel for the property and on your dashboard map
  • Fill in the elevation and building information for the property on its Property Information Panel so that you have a complete picture of the property and its risk.
  • Check the EC for compliance using our EC Error Detection feature so that you can address any issues well in advance of a FEMA review.

A Note on EC Quality & Other Extraction Issues

Some ECs error during the extraction process. This can occur when:

  • The EC is missing important data required to geolocate and validate the property
  • The EC is illegible due to poor scan quality, difficult-to-read handwriting, or stamps or other items covering or abstracting the information on the EC
  • The EC is missing a significant number of pages or is blank

If an EC gets flagged during our transcription process, a Forerunner team member will contact you with additional information.

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