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Subject: Re: [emergency-gis] FYI: Technology To Widen Reach Of Amber Alerts

This is largely a web-portal approach, and a bit of a topical 
stovepipe for now... but their EAS interface does, in fact, use 
CAP... so there will be opportunities for using that interface to 
share their data with other systems.

- Art

At 9:33 AM -0600 7/21/04, Carl Reed wrote:
>Anyone aware of this work and is there a place for CAP? (I think 
>that there is!)
>Technology To Widen Reach Of Amber Alerts
>By Ellen Simon, Associated Press
>A new technology debuting in 12 states will significantly extend 
>Amber alerts, reaching cell phones, E-mail, and handheld computers, 
>and could also be used to transmit weather and terrorism alerts.
>"It might not be the all-alert system, but the backbone is going to 
>be there," said Chris Warner, president of E2C in Scottsdale, Ariz., 
>which led the system's development. "Homeland Security could take it 
>right over."
>Police officers in Arizona and Washington, starting Monday, were 
>able to send Amber alerts--notifications of a child abduction--from 
>a highly encrypted system in their cars then update them with photos 
>and more detailed descriptions, Warner said. Ten other states are 
>expected to launch the expanded alerts this summer.
>"The goal of this is to make it so pervasive, no one will be stupid 
>enough to take a child," said Warner.
>The system will use a simple broadcast technology that takes the 
>information into a Web portal and reconfigures it for different 
>types of broadcast. A state department of transportation, for 
>instance, might receive one format for its road signs and another 
>for its information number.
>Using the new system, people with cell phones can sign up for Amber 
>alerts in with county or state authorities. The text of an alert can 
>be shot immediately to local TV news programs' Web sites, with 
>automatic updates.
>"What we've done is create a fairly simple publishing and 
>broadcasting tool," said Stuart McKee, who worked on the system when 
>he was chief information officer for Washington state and is now the 
>U.S. national technology officer for Microsoft Corp.
>The system also represents a next generation of public warning.
>Many state emergency managers have clamored for a system that would 
>instantly dispatch disaster information, including evacuation maps, 
>on cell phones, the Internet, and handheld devices.
>Gov. Brad Henry of Oklahoma has said he hopes the technology could 
>eventually be used to warn residents about severe weather, said Phil 
>Bacharach, a state spokesman.
>The idea came about after McKee saw Warner give a presentation on 
>another information-sharing network he had developed, Earth911, an 
>Internet clearinghouse with local information about recycling 
>different types of trash.
>State agencies and companies including Hewlett-Packard Co., Intel 
>Corp., and Symantec Corp. worked together for 18 months to develop 
>the system. Symantec said in May it is providing the external 
>security monitoring of the host site and backup locations. The 
>companies donated a total of $4 million in development time, Warner 
>The system will help police in part because they can spend much of 
>the 24 hours after an Amber alert is issued answering phone calls 
>from people looking for more information, McKee said.
>The 10 other states set to join the initiative: Connecticut, Hawaii, 
>Louisiana, Maine, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, Oklahoma, 
>and Oregon. Also Monday, Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour said his 
>state also would soon join the mobile alert program.
>Amber alerts were created after the 1997 kidnapping and murder of 
>9-year-old Amber Hagerman, who was abducted while riding her bicycle 
>in Arlington, Texas.
>OGC: Helping the world to communicate geographically...
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