Emergency data standard ratified

A new open IT standard, capable of facilitating data sharing across local, regional, national and international governments and organizations, has been ratified by the Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards.

The Emergency Data Exchange Language Distribution Element (EDXL-DE) Version 1.0 has been designated a standard by Oasis, which serves as the de facto international standards body.

Chip Hines, acting director for the Homeland Security Department's Office for Interoperability and Compatibility, hailed the new standard's ability to help transmit a wide variety of data content, from files to technical data exchange information.

EDXL-DE is a header, meant to identify to whom and under what circumstances emergency information is being sent, Oasis said. The group's Emergency Management Technical Committee is still working to develop other components of the new emergency standard.

In addition to message routing instructions such as the DE standard, EDXL will address resource questions and requests, situation reports, damage assessments and other functionality issues for cross-jurisdictional emergency communications.

Hines, who said the standard provides immediate capability to the emergency response community, called on industry to work the standard into their products.

'EDXL-DE will facilitate the implementation of a host of standards which will lead to fully interoperable sharing of information in emergency related applications,' Hines said in the consortium's statement announcing the standard.

DHS was involved in the creation of the standard and worked with private sector partners to develop it and bring the standard to Oasis, where the group's Emergency Management Technical Committee refined it and helped get it ratified.

Because the new standard is an open standard, it is available online, allowing for its adoption.

Ethan Butterfield is a staff writer for Government Computer News' sister publication, Washington Technology.

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