XML deal inked for responders

Emergency Interoperability Consortium

Homeland Security Department officials and members of the Emergency Interoperability Consortium (EIC) say they have formally signed a memorandum of agreement to jointly design, develop, release and use Extensible Markup Language data-sharing standards for emergency response.

"This DHS/EIC alliance is an important step toward realizing the potential of a public/private partnership to rapidly develop and proliferate valid and commercially sustainable interoperability standards," Matt Walton, EIC chairman and vice chairman and founder of E Team, said in a press release. "Removal of the barriers that currently hinder data sharing in emergencies will benefit everyone involved from the government agencies that work to secure our nation against potential threats to first responders in the field and the people they assist."

Officials are already working on a next generation data sharing standard called the Emergency Data Exchange Language (EDXL) that goes beyond the Common Alerting Protocol (CAP), an open standard for exchanging hazard warnings and reports.

CAP has been tested and certified as an international standard by the Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards, a nonprofit global standards making body. EDXL, which will address the routing and substance of interagency emergency messaging, was tested in a demonstration in Washington, D.C., late last year.

The collaboration -- billed to a be the first of its kind between DHS and a nongovernment entity -- is expected to help educate federal, state, local and tribal governments, industry, and others about the significance of data sharing and the use of open architectures and standards within emergency response.

The initial term of the agreement is three years, but can be renewed for additional two-year periods.

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