NC4: Risk Center - Using the Enterprise Incident Feed

The NC4 Enterprise Incident Feed is an optional feature that leverages the Common Alerting Protocol (CAP) v 1.0, a standard proposed by OASIS Emergency Management TC. The CAP spec can be found at http://www.oasis-open.org/committees/download.php/6334/oasis-200402-cap-core-1.0.pdf.

This document is intended for those within the customer organization, who are responsible for setting-up and configuring the NC4 CAP interface within the NC4 Risk Center solution.

The CAP protocol defines a message structure and some metadata level information to exchange alerts between different emergency management systems. However, it doesn’t define the delivery mechanisms and leaves this field open for varying implementation interpretation. The National Weather Service http://weather.gov/alerts/ provides its alert data in CAP format as a URL from which the current weather information can be downloaded in CAP format. For example, http://weather.gov/alerts/us.cap provides weather information for the entire continental United States in CAP format. The delivery model is pull-oriented, where each weather incident is enclosed as an info structure within the overall alert structure as defined in the CAP protocol. CAP is a loosely-defined protocol and leaves a lot of semantics of the fields up to the individual user implementations. Other implementations of CAP include DMIS which is available at https://interop.cmiservices.org/. Once again, while the basic data structure being exchanged with DMIS is CAP, the transport delivery mechanism as well as the semantics of some (if not all) fields are up to the individual users to define. EDXML, an upcoming standard, is hopefully going to attempt the issues of standardizing on the data delivery mechanisms and hopefully on tightening the semantics of the underlying data structures. From the information available at this time, it looks like initially, the data structure used to exchange incident level information is still going to be CAP-based.

Given the above scenario, NC4 has written the CAP interface so that we can move quickly to different delivery mechanisms while keeping other pieces of the infrastructure intact. Currently, NC4 has implemented a simple HTTP post-based mechanism, and SOAP-based and email-based delivery mechanisms for delivering NIMC incidents. As the need arises to integrate with other systems, other delivery mechanisms will have to be written to xmit CAP messages.

NC4 has mapped NC4 International Monitoring Center (NIMC) information to the CAP data structure as closely as possible. The attached document provides the mapping schema. As time goes by and we recognize other unwritten standards, we may change these mappings, and they will be included as part of our implementations.

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