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|OASIS/ITU-T Common Alerting Protocol (CAP) Receives Support from FEMA and WMO.|
Recent announcements from the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and World Meteorological Organization (WMO) highlight growing interest in the XML-based Common Alerting Protocol (CAP) within U.S. jurisdictions and worldwide.
The Common Alerting Protocol (CAP) Version 1.1 was adopted as an OASIS Standard by a vote of the OASIS general membership on September 30, 2005. A CAP Version 1.1 Approved Errata document was approved by the Emergency Management Technical Committee on October 02, 2007. Principal changes introduced by this Errata document include Normative References to ITU-T standards for equivalent ASN.1 representation of the CAP message corresponding to W3C Schema (XSD), incorporating new subsections to support "Use of ASN.1 to Specify and Encode the CAP Alert Message," together with the (verbatim) ASN.1 Schema. In 2007, the International Telecommunication Union (ITU-T) adopted ITU-T X.1303: Common Alerting Protocol (CAP 1.1) as a Recommendation in Series X: Data Networks, Open System Communications and Security, Telecommunication Security.
The OASIS/ITU-T Common Alerting Protocol (CAP) specification defines an XML format for exchanging all-hazard emergency alerts and public warnings over all kinds of networks. CAP allows a consistent warning message to be disseminated simultaneously over many different warning systems, thus increasing warning effectiveness while simplifying the warning task. CAP also facilitates the detection of emerging patterns in local warnings of various kinds, such as might indicate an undetected hazard or hostile act. And CAP provides a template for effective warning messages based on best practices identified in academic research and real-world experience.
On July 30, 2008, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced its intention to adopt "an alerting protocol in line with Common Alerting Protocol (CAP) 1.1 as the standard for the Integrated Public Alert and Warnings System (IPAWS)." IPAWS is a network of alert systems through which FEMA is upgrading the existing Emergency Alert System (EAS). Participants in the EAS, including broadcasters and state and local emergency managers, will be required to be in compliance with CAP 1.1 standard within 180 days of its formal adoption by FEMA. It is expected that the FEMA CAP profile will be finalized during the first quarter of calendar year 2009.
A separate announcement from the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) in Geneva issues a call for participation in a planned CAP Implementers Workshop, to be held December 9-10, 2008 at the WMO Geneva headquarters, in cooperation with OASIS and ITU. This Workshop is designed primarily as a forum for discussions among CAP implementers and ICT or emergency management organizations on topics requiring coordination. These topics may include, among others: having an internationally agreed list of authorities for common types of CAP alerts; disseminating, aggregating, and authenticating CAP alerts; making globally unique identifiers for CAP alerts; and best practices for text in the CAP "description" and "instruction" elements.
Common Alerting Protocol (CAP) Version 1.1 was approved as an OASIS Standard on September 30, 2005, and as ITU-T Recommendation (X.1303) on September 13, 2007. The specification is freely available online from OASIS and ITU-T.
Common Alerting Protocol, Version 1.1. OASIS Standard CAP-V1.1. October 2005. Document Identifier: 'CAP-V1.1'. Extent: 35 pages. Edited by Elysa Jones (Warning Systems, Inc) and Art Botterell (Individual Member). . Produced by members of the OASIS Emergency Management Technical Committee. [PDF source]
Status: This document was adopted by a vote of the OASIS general membership ending September 30, 2005. See: Ballot to Approve CAP v1.1 [so!] (approved Committee Specification) as an OASIS Standard. Member ballot was closed 30-September-2005 with 48 "yes" votes, zero "no" votes, zero abstentions, and zero comments/reference documents (from 306 eligible companies). Additional information, including implementation guidelines and sample files, may be found through the Emergency Management TC web page.
See also CAP v1.1 Approved Errata. Approved on October 02, 2007. Principal changes introduced by this Errata document include Normative References to ITU-T standards for equivalent ASN.1 representation of the CAP message, and new subsections (3.5.1, 3.5.2) to support "Use of ASN.1 to Specify and Encode the CAP Alert Message." Section 3.5.3 incorporated the (verbatim) ASN.1 Schema. See the W3C XML Schema (xsd) and ASN.1 Schema. [Source: HTML, PDF; Word .doc, schemas.]
Specification abstract: "The Common Alerting Protocol (CAP) is a simple but general format for exchanging all-hazard emergency alerts and public warnings over all kinds of networks. CAP allows a consistent warning message to be disseminated simultaneously over many different warning systems, thus increasing warning effectiveness while simplifying the warning task. CAP also facilitates the detection of emerging patterns in local warnings of various kinds, such as might indicate an undetected hazard or hostile act. And CAP provides a template for effective warning messages based on best practices identified in academic research and real-world experience."
IPR: "For information on whether any patents have been disclosed that may be essential to implementing this specification, and any offers of patent licensing terms, please refer to the Intellectual Property Rights section of the Emergency Management TC web page at http://www.oasis-open.org/committees/emergency/ipr.php. The OASIS Emergency Management TC operates under the RF on RAND Mode of the OASIS IPR Policy. As of 2007-08-30, only one declaration had been received (19-May-2006, from AZOS AI, LLC "Patent Application Disclosure to OASIS - Common Alerting Protocol (CAP)", US Patent 6359970... "Azos is willing to offer nonexclusive licenses... under reasonable and non-discriminatory terms and conditions, in accordance with Azos' then current licensing practices..." (see discussion thread)
ITU-T X.1303: Common Alerting Protocol (CAP 1.1). From International Telecommunication Union. Telecommunication Standardization Sector of ITU. Series X: Data Networks, Open System Communications and Security. Telecommunication Security. Recommendation X.1303 (09/07). Approved in 2007-09. Posted 2008-05-26. ITU-T Document reference: 'E 32764'. Extent: 42 pages, 462,890 bytes. ITU-T Recommendation X.1303 was approved on 13-September-2007 by ITU-T Study Group 17 (2005-2008) under the ITU-T Recommendation A.8 procedure. See the canonical ITU-T URI references: ITU-T Recommendations Listing; X-1303 from "Data networks, open system communications and security", reference page, and PDF download URI.
Summary: "The common alerting protocol (CAP) is a simple but general format for exchanging all-hazard emergency alerts and public warnings over all kinds of networks. CAP allows a consistent warning message to be disseminated simultaneously over many different warning systems, thus increasing warning effectiveness while simplifying the warning task. CAP also facilitates the detection of emerging patterns in local warnings of various kinds, such as might indicate an undetected hazard or hostile act. CAP also provides a template for effective warning messages based on best practices identified in academic research and real-world experience.
ITU-T Recommendation X.1303 also provides both an XSD specification and an equivalent ASN.1 specification (that permits a compact binary encoding) and allows the use of ASN.1 as well as XSD tools for the generation and processing of CAP messages. This Recommendation enables existing systems, such as H.323 systems, to more readily encode, transport, and decode CAP messages."
IPR: "ITU draws attention to the possibility that the practice or implementation of this Recommendation may involve the use of a claimed Intellectual Property Right. ITU takes no position concerning the evidence, validity or applicability of claimed Intellectual Property Rights, whether asserted by ITU members or others outside of the Recommendation development process. As of the date of approval of this Recommendation, ITU had not received notice of intellectual property, protected by patents, which may be required to implement this Recommendation. However, implementers are cautioned that this may not represent the latest information and are therefore strongly urged to consult the TSB patent database at http://www.itu.int/ITU-T/ipr/.
The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) is the United Nations specialized agency in the field of telecommunications, information and communication technologies (ICTs). The ITU Telecommunication Standardization Sector (ITU-T) is a permanent organ of ITU. ITU-T is responsible for studying technical, operating and tariff questions and issuing Recommendations on them with a view to standardizing telecommunications on a worldwide basis. The World Telecommunication Standardization Assembly (WTSA), which meets every four years, establishes the topics for study by the ITU-T study groups which, in turn, produce Recommendations on these topics. The approval of ITU-T Recommendations is covered by the procedure laid down in WTSA Resolution 1. In some areas of information technology which fall within ITU-T's purview, the necessary standards are prepared on a collaborative basis with ISO and IEC..."
From the text of the July 30, 2008 announcement, "FEMA Announces Intention to Adopt Common Alerting Protocol 1.1":
Washington, DC, USA. July 30, 2008.
The Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management
Agency (FEMA) announced today its intention to adopt during the first
quarter of calendar year 2009, an alerting protocol in line with
Common Alerting Protocol (CAP) 1.1 as the standard for the Integrated Public Alert and Warnings System (IPAWS).
IPAWS is a network of alert systems through which FEMA is upgrading
the existing Emergency Alert System (EAS). CAP 1.1 is a format for
exchanging emergency alerts allowing a consistent warning message to
be disseminated simultaneously over many different warning systems.
Participants in the EAS, including broadcasters and state and local
emergency managers, will be required to be in compliance with CAP 1.1
standard within 180 days of its formal adoption by FEMA.
"Arriving at standards and protocols that work for everyone is a
complex process," said Martha Rainville, assistant administrator of
FEMA's National Continuity Programs Directorate. "But FEMA intends to
formally adopt and publish a profile in line with CAP 1.1 early next
year. We are working closely with partners across the government,
private sector and non-profit community to develop a CAP profile that
ensures the interoperability needed to deliver alerts and warnings to
more people in more locations through more paths."
"Messaging standards improve information sharing and provide a
foundation for data interoperability," said David Boyd, director of
the Command, Control and Interoperability Division (CID) in the DHS/
Science and Technology Directorate. "The Division's support of public
alert and warning message standards is critical to our mission of
creating and maintaining a secure and safe nation."
Rainville added, "FEMA looks forward to continuing to work with its
partners to make sure that IPAWS supports and is interoperable with
the various alert and warning systems developed by the state, local,
tribal and territorial emergency managers to protect their residents."
FEMA's partners in developing CAP profiles include the National
Weather Service, Federal Communications Commission, the DHS/Science
and Technology Directorate's Command, Control and Interoperability
Division; Emergency Interoperability Consortium; Organization for the
Advancement of Structured Information Standards; and the International
Association of Emergency Managers.
FEMA coordinates the federal government's role in preparing for,
preventing, mitigating the effects of responding to, and recovering
from all domestic disasters, whether natural or man-made, including
acts of terror.
According to the announcement, FEMA's partners in developing CAP profiles include:
National Weather Service. "The US National Weather Service (NWS) provides weather, hydrologic, and climate forecasts and warnings for the United States, its territories, adjacent waters and ocean areas, for the protection of life and property and the enhancement of the national economy. NWS data and products form a national information database and infrastructure which can be used by other governmental agencies, the private sector, the public, and the global community." U.S. Dept of Commerce, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
Federal Communications Commission. "The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is an independent United States government agency. The FCC was established by the Communications Act of 1934 and is charged with regulating interstate and international communications by radio, television, wire, satellite and cable... The FCC's strategic plan for 2006-2011 outlines a path that ensures that an orderly framework exists within which communications products and services can be quickly and reasonably provided to consumers and businesses. Equally important, the plan also addresses the communications aspects of public safety, health, and emergency operations; ensures the universal availability of basic telecommunications service; makes communications services accessible to all people; and protects and informs consumers about their rights.
DHS/Science and Technology Directorate's Command, Control and Interoperability Division. "This division develops interoperable communication standards and protocols for emergency responders, cyber security tools for protecting the integrity of the Internet, and automated capabilities to recognize and analyze potential threats. The Directorate for Science and Technology is the primary research and development arm of DHS. In partnership with the private sector, national laboratories, universities, and other government agencies (domestic and foreign), this Directorate helps push the innovation envelope and drive development and the use of high technology in support of homeland security."
Emergency Interoperability Consortium. "The Emergency Interoperability Consortium is made up of organizations that share the same goals for interoperable emergency communications. The Executive Committee leads the consortium which participates in educational and outreach activities to the public and federal communities on incident and emergency management issues. The Consortium's primary objectives are to: (1) Create a national approach for data interoperability through an industry-government consortium; (2) Promote the development of Web services / XML data interoperability standards necessary to support the timely and accurate exchange of incident information throughout the Emergency Management community; (3) Ensure every American has appropriate access to whatever information they require — when and how they need it..."
Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards (OASIS). "OASIS is a not-for-profit consortium that drives the development, convergence and adoption of open standards for the global information society. The consortium produces Web services standards along with standards for security, e-business, and supports standardization efforts in the public sector and for application-specific markets... OASIS maintains formal liaison relationships with W3C, ISO, ISO/IEC JTC1, ITU, UNECE, RosettaNet, and many others."
International Association of Emergency Managers. "The International Association of Emergency Managers (IAEM), which has members in 58 countries, is a non-profit educational organization dedicated to promoting the goals of saving lives and protecting property during emergencies and disasters."
From the WMO announcement CAP Implementers Workshop at World Meteorological Organization (WMO):
Geneva, Switzerland. July 31, 2008.
Eliot Christian, WIS Senior Scientific Officer
World Meteorological Organization (WMO)
The Common Alerting Protocol (CAP), an OASIS standard
adopted as ITU Recommendation X.1303, is the foundation
standard for all-media public warning. Designed as an
all-hazards alert format, CAP is being implemented
worldwide for earthquakes, public health, and many
other emergencies, in addition to weather events.
I am writing to organizations that may be interested
to participate in a two-day CAP Implementers Workshop.
If your organization is interested, please reply as soon
as possible (firstname.lastname@example.org) as to:
- How many persons from your organization are
likely to participate in this Workshop?
- Is your organization interested in showing a
technology demo or best practices poster?
- What high-priority coordination topics should
be discussed at this Workshop?
Please also forward this note to any discussion lists
or individuals that may be interested to participate.
This Workshop is planned for 9-10 December 2008 at the
WMO (World Meteorological Organization) in Geneva, in cooperation with OASIS and ITU. It will be primarily a
forum for discussions among CAP implementers and
ICT or emergency management organizations on topics
These topics may include, among others: having an internationally agreed list of authorities
for common types of CAP alerts; disseminating, aggregating,
and authenticating CAP alerts; making globally unique
identifiers for CAP alerts; and, best practices for text
in the CAP "description" and "instruction" elements.
You may be aware that this Workshop follows on the
October 2006 "Workshop and Demonstration of Advances in
ICT Standards for Public Warning" held at ITU in Geneva.
Geneva Workshop 2006: Online References
Since that 2006 Workshop, there have been notable developments, including:
The ITU-D (ITU Development Sector) approved guidance
for developing nations on CAP implementation
OASIS established its Emergency Interoperability Member
Section to accelerate implementation of CAP and
allied emergency data exchange standards
The U.S. FCC (Federal Communications Commission)
issued an order requiring use of CAP
The WMO SWIC (Severe Weather Information Centre)
began work on CAP warnings of Tropical Cyclones
The U.S. National Weather Service (NWS) continued
improving its CAP messages and developing its
Next Generation Warning Tool
The Weather Channel underscored to NWS the need
to institute CAP
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency began
developing CAP alerts for air quality warnings
The Earth Observations Summit highlighted CAP
implementation as a major achievement
Canada and the U.S. coordinated on implementation
of their respective CAP-based alerting systems
EUMETNET began exploring how to adapt METEOALARM to support CAP
Eliot Christian, WIS Senior Scientific Officer
World Meteorological Organization (WMO)
Case Postal 2300, CH 1211 Geneva 2, Switzerland
Tel: +41 22 730 81 71
The OASIS Emergency Management Technical Committee was chartered to define "requirements for data exchange among emergency management, public safety, homeland security and related applications and systems. Examples of data-sharing applications within the Technical Committee's scope include:
Alerting, warning and informing responders and the public
- Incident reporting and tracking
- Resource identification, tasking and tracking
- Geospatial characterization and tracking of hazards and resources
- Planning, modeling
- Financial management of emergency response activities
- Hazard monitoring and data acquisition systems
- Training of emergency responders and managers
- Staff, personnel and organizational management
- Other activities identified within the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's "National Incident Management System" (NIMS)
Within this general scope the activities of this Technical Committee may include, but are not limited to:
Dialog and collaboration with emergency management stakeholders and agencies and other standards activities in the identification and articulation of user requirements, of operational practices and constraints, and of existing art that may be adopted
Technical development, refinement and formalization of standards documents to specify data elements, document and message schemas, web service definitions, profiles and any other specifications that may facilitate useful data exchange among data systems for emergency management, public safety, homeland security and allied agencies and organizations
Participation in and evaluation of interoperability trials and demonstrations, independently or in concert with other organizations or agencies
Development and publication of supplemental materials that may further the adoption or implementation of standards created by or recommended by the Technical Committee
The OASIS Emergency Management TC supports development and adoption of several standards relating to public safety and emergency management, including (1) alerting, warning, and informing responders and the public (2) incident reporting and tracking; (3) resource identification, tasking and tracking.
- CAP (Common Alerting Protocol)
- EDXL-DE (Emergency Data Exchange Language Distribution Element)
- EDXL-RM (Emergency Data Exchange Language Resource Messaging)
- HAVE (Emergency Data Exchange Language Hospital AVailability Exchange - HAVE)
According to the TC FAQ document, "One of the most challenging aspects of emergency and incident management today has been the lack of consistent technical interoperability and standards. Historically, the result has been siloed systems that are incapable of communicating with each other, or of disseminating a single message in the forms (EAS, broadcast, Internet, cellular). The use of data standards in emergencies increases the speed and accuracy of warnings, reduces the cost and complexity of systems, and allows seamless communication between sensors and alerting technologies, emergency management organizations, and the general public..."
OASIS Emergency Management TC Subcommittees: Much of the EMTC technical work is done initially within the TC's Subcommittees:
- CAP Version 1.1:
- FEMA and DHS:
- CAP Information from Incident.com:
- Who Is Using CAP?
- The CAP Cookbook
- Creating CAP Applications. Summarizes some of the key choices and trade-offs facing the designer or integrator of a CAP-based application.
- CAP EAS/NWR Profile. Reference document from The CAP Cookbook. "A key characteristic of the Common Alerting Protocol (CAP) is that it can be used to include and extend existing warning technologies as part of a larger integrated public alert and warning system.
- History with Society of Broadcast Engineers (SBE):
- Other references:
- OASIS Emergency Management TC:
- Local references in Cover Pages:
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