EAS and Atom Feeds

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In conversations about EAS CAP compliance, you may have heard reference to an Atom server and wondered what that was about.

For example, as part of an interview with EAS expert Richard Rudman that will appear in an upcoming issue of Radio World, I asked him what engineers should be thinking about right now regarding EAS. (Richard is vice chair of the California EAS State Emergency Communications Committee and a core member of the Broadcast Warning Working Group.)

“Everyone needs to check with the manufacturer of their new EAS equipment to make sure they have software updates installed that will be able to poll the IPAWS Atom server by the June 2012 deadline,” he said.

For those not familiar, he explained that Atom is an XML-based document format that describes lists of related information referred to as feeds.

“Atom feeds avoid significant authentication, security and throughput problems inherent in RSS feeds. After receiving comments on the liabilities of RSS feeds, FEMA listened and changed to Atom feeds. When that happened, all manufacturers needed to implement a new operational selection for FEMA IPAWS Atom.

“As of Dec. 13, not all manufacturers had released the required software to poll a CAP Atom feed.” 

A Wikipedia entry is informative on the background of Atom. (Among other things it reports that other names being considered for Atom were “Pie,” “Echo” and “Whatever.” Oh, what could have been.)

Look for the full Rudman interview in print shortly.