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OASIS is moving
forward the CAP (Common Alerting Protocol). Because this protocol will have a
potentially major impact on the systems that are vital to our personal
safety and well-being (at least in the USA), I'd like to make a personal call to
XML experts to take advantage of the opportunity to review CAP before
it becomes an accepted OASIS standard. My personal feeling, as expressed on
their mailing lists, is that there has not yet been substantive review by XML
technical experts. The Technical Committee should be congratulated for having
done a good job of getting the format to its current state and for having
created a focal point for discussion of the hazard alerting application domain,
however, at this point they very much need input from XML experts to ensure the
best quality and most useful output of their otherwise exemplary efforts. So, to
all the XML "experts" on the list: Please consider taking a moment to provide
the public service of reviewing the proposed CAP standard. The document
can be found at:
Their mailing lists
A summary of CAP, is
below. This was taken from:http://www.incident.com/cap/what-why-how.html
What is it?
The Common Alerting
Protocol (CAP) is an open, non-proprietary standard data interchange format that
can be used to collect all types of hazard warnings and reports locally,
regionally and nationally, for input into a wide range of information-management
and warning dissemination systems.
This project acts on several of the
recommendations of the "Effective Disaster Warnings" report issued in November,
2000 by the Working Group on Natural Disaster Information Systems, Subcommittee
on Natural Disaster Reduction. It also draws on various earlier professional
discussions such as the recurring "Common Alerting Protocol" thread in the
Networks in Emergency Management e-mail forum during the 1990s.
Why do we need it?
Warning systems in the United States
today are a chaotic patchwork of technologies and procedures. Not only is there
no coordination, there's no mechanism for coordination.
nationwide systems are limited in scope both by their technological legacies and
by the organizational mandates and priorities of their sponsoring agencies. In
particular, none of the existing national systems are entirely suited to the
needs of state, local and private emergency-information programs. As a result,
dozens of different technical and operational warning systems have sprouted,
seemingly at random, throughout the nation.
The Common Alerting Protocol
will benefit a) the public, b) public agencies and private concerns (such as
industrial plant operators) with warning responsibilities, and c) developers of
new sensor, threat-evaluation and warning-dissemination technologies:
- Automatic multi-channel dissemination of warning messages will extend the
reach of warning messages and enhance the effectiveness of those messages by
providing timely corroboration of warnings from several sources.
- Such a system will also simplify the work of alerting officials by giving
them a write-it-once method for issuing warnings over multiple dissemination
systems without duplicate effort.
- The Common Alerting Protocol will enhance government's "situational
awareness" at the state, regional and national levels by providing a continual
real-time database of all warnings, even local ones. (This information about
local warnings, unavailable to state and local officials at present, could be
crucial to the timely evaluation of certain threats, such as, biological
terrorist attacks, which are most readily identified by detecting patterns in
- Special-needs populations including the deaf and hearing-impaired, the
blind and visually-impaired and non-English speakers will be better served by
consistent delivery of warnings and public-safety information through all
- By decoupling the diverse elements of the national warning infrastructure
the Common Alerting Protocol will allow technology developers and sponsors to
expand, upgrade or even replace existing facilities without disrupting entire
systems. A mechanism for warning-system "interoperability" will free system
providers to innovate and improve their services without facing barriers due
to technological "legacies."