CAP For IPAWS – Defining Content Guidance

What have we done to the Common Alerting Protocol (CAP)?  In 2003, CAP 1.0 was released a simple, straightforward XML schema for alerting. It was, and is, a great idea and has achieved almost worldwide acceptance. As with any great idea, folks have discovered a need to tweak here and there and to impose their own rules for usage, security, etc.  The great thing is that the basic structure remains in tact. The devil, however, remains in the details of implementation in systems throughout the world.  We are on CAP 1.2.  Europe has adopted CAP 1.1.  Canada has published its own CAP Canadian Profile.  We, in the U.S., also have the CAP IPAWS profile as an OASIS TC Committee specification and a requirement for broadcast of messages through  FEMA’s Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS).

I am currently trying to define a document to help CAP message origination software builders build an appropriate message for use in the world of FEMA’s IPAWS.  This world includes both “regular CAP” and IPAWS Profile CAP, including its variations (EAS, NOAA NWEM, and CMAS).  It is no small task. There are at least seven different documents that need to be “amalgamated” for the purpose (one of which has not even been formalized in writing yet):

  • The first is the actual CAP Standard; now version 1.2 (OASIS Common Alerting Protocol, Version 1.2, OASIS Standard, 01 July2010).
  • This is modified by the CAP IPAWS profile specification (Common Alerting Protocol, v.1.2 USA Integrated Public Alert and Warning System Profile Version 1.0, Committee Specification 01, 13 October 2009).
  • For messages bound for Emergency Alert System (EAS) disseminators there is the CAP ECIG recommendation (ECIG Recommendations for a CAP EAS Implementation Guide, EAS CAP Industry Group – ECIG, EAS-CAP Implementation Guide SubCommittee, Version 1.0, 17 May2010).
  • For messages bound for broadcast via NOAA Radio, there are additional rules (National Weather Service Instruction 10-1701, Text Product Formats and Codes, February 12, 2003).
  • For messages bound for cell phone broadcast there are rules requires to implement the ATIS/TIA Standard (Joint ATIS/TIA CMAS Federal Alert Gateway to CMSP Gateway Interface Specification, October 2009)
  • Originators will also need the documentation for connection to IPAWS-OPEN itself (Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS) Open Platform for Emergency Networks (IPAWS-OPEN v2) Web-Service Interface Design Guidance Version 1.2, November 12, 2010).  Note: the document is provided to external vendors and programs upon completion of MOA documentation.
  • Finally there will be formal rules on originator approval; NWEM and EAS Alert Originator Approval and Permission Procedures for IPAWS COGs (to be published).

My goal is to provide this document in iterations (think beta versions) to IPAWS-OPEN partners with completed MOAs. It will take some time, but, eventually, a formal version will also be published.   Your input will be appreciated.

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