Global warning system gets USGS support

Global warning system gets USGS support

Through its Public Warning Network Challenge, the Internet Society today is calling for collaborators for an all-media, all-hazards public warning system.

The society has already received endorsements from the Geological Survey and the international Global Spatial Data Infrastructure Association.

“Any organization involved in an aspect of public warning is invited to indicate how they are able to collaborate on this goal,” said Lynn St. Amour, president and CEO of the society, which is in Geneva, Switzerland, with a U.S. office in Reston, Va.

“Operational systems have shown that a single authoritative and secure alert message can quickly launch Internet messages, news feeds, television text captions, highway sign messages, and synthesized voice over automated telephone calls or radio broadcasts,” the society noted in its announcement.

From a societal perspective, “it makes no sense to continue building a separate public warning system for each particular threat,” the society said. “Efficient use of funds as well as effectiveness of public warning both argue for using standards and combining the public warning requirement for all-media coverage.”

USGS noted in its endorsement that it is implementing the Common Alerting Protocol to warn about earthquakes, volcanoes, landslides, wildlife diseases and invasive species, as well as to work with other government agencies on hazards such as tsunamis, wildland fires and floods.

Asked what the Internet Society expects of organizations that endorse the challenge, membership director David McAuley said, "Creativity. This is an open call that lets everyone participate," not merely donate money.

"They are a very creative bunch engaged in the process," he said.

The Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards’ emergency management technical committee sponsors the Common Alerting Protocol.

The Internet Engineering Task Force is working on another draft international emergency alert system.

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