U.S. National Weather Service Starts Multi-Phase CAP Improvement Project

According to an article in the U.S. National Weather Service (NWS) Aware Report,  the NWS has proposed adding Instruction Field 'markers' into WMO-formatted text Watch/Warning/Advisory/Statements (W/W/A/S). The proposal is designed to improve NWS production of the separate suite of Common Alerting Protocol (CAP) OASIS Standard messages by early 2009 to include distinct event 'Description' and 'Instruction' elements. "Without a marker, there is no reliable way to parse the CAP Instruction element from existing WMO-formatted text products and create a separate CAP Instruction element," the article states.

This proposal represents the only change to existing NWS products enabling CAP message production.
NWS has an experimental Webpage that provides reformatted W/W/A/S products in XML for various feeds and displays. These CAP messages have not been satisfactorily formatted. World Meteorological Organization (WMO) formatted products do not provide information needed to populate certain CAP fields. To aggressively respond to the urgent need for standardized CAP compliant message format for NWS W/W/A events, NWS has started a multi-phased project with some tasks progressing in parallel. NWS will request public review and comment on proposed improvements shortly.

NWS will improve the experimental CAP-formatted messages and continue to make them available online. At the same time, NWS will develop the Next Generation Warning Tool (NGWT) that will generate CAP messages in native format. NGWT will deliver AWIPS W/W/A applications through a more standardized approach than currently used. NGWT will modularize the applications. This will allow warning applications to be flexible enough to respond to changing technologies and user requirements. Products issued using the new NGWT will be formatted for transmission on NOAAPort, the NWWS, and NWS Webpage...

This CAP solution will provide numerous benefits [including]: (1) Partners will have XML/Keyhole Markup Language formats to enable use of NWS products in better ways, such as with Geographic Information System applications. In addition XML reduces the cost of entry for NWS partners to parse and use NWS local products; for example, rip currents alerts will be available in standard national formats. (2) CAP 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. Local warnings in CAP, unavailable to state and local officials at present, could be crucial to the timely evaluation of certain threats, like biological terrorist attacks, which are most readily identified by detecting patterns in local responses... A future Aware article will describe how NWS CAP initiatives relate to other CAP initiatives in and outside the federal government.

Read the complete article by Herb White in the National Weather Service (NWS) Aware Report.


See also:
- Cover Pages "U.S. National Weather Service Starts Multi-Phase CAP Improvement Project"