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IPAWS-OPEN Latest Release Previewed

Gary Timm updates us on alerting infrastructure

“It is great to see the continuing engagement by FEMA with its stakeholders.”

That’s alerting expert Gary Timm, writing on the AWARE blog. He helpfully summarizes improvements in the latest version of IPAWS-OPEN, the Open Platform for Emergency Networks within FEMA’s Integrated Public Alert and Warning System. It’s interesting reading for those who are affected by how the modernized national alerting infrastructure is being built.

Timm — a former broadcast engineer who works for SRA International Strategy and Performance Group and is both broadcast chair of the Wisconsin State EAS Committee and a member of the State Amber Alert Committee — took notes during a webinar that previewed features of the latest IPAWS-OPEN release, v3.04.

Among other things, he describes an enhanced ability for FEMA to switch off any local “collaborative operating groups” that are sending problematic messages. There’s a new capability for alert originators to have different event code permissions on different dissemination channels (EAS, CMAS, etc.). And the latest release brings better filtering of applicable messages for particular areas.

About this last item, Timm writes: “Systems like EAS request a Message List from the IPAWS server each time they check for applicable messages for their area. Those Message List requests can now be filtered better to request only messages from a particular COG, only that contain a certain Event Code, only that have a digital signature validated by FEMA, or only are IPAWS Profile conformant.”

He said support for Common Alerting Protocol (CAP) v1.1 messages will end with deployment of OPEN v3.04. “All exchanges on IPAWS will now need to utilize CAP v1.2.”

He also noted that state and local alert originators and IPAWS-OPEN developers are able to make use of the facilities of the IPAWS Laboratory at the Joint Interoperability Test Command in Maryland as a platform to test systems and alerting capabilities “in an environment similar to IPAWS without causing test alerts to circulate in the actual IPAWS network.”

Read it here.