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4891Re: Tornados sweep through central Florida in the middle of the night.

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  • wuhu_software
    Feb 2, 2007
    • 0 Attachment
      Mark,

      Not sure if you are aware of the CAP alerting protocol. It is
      currently supported at the state level although I do not believe it
      is broken down to the county level.

      Here is an entry at Wikipedia about CAP:

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Common_Alerting_Protocol

      Here are the state links at the NWS:

      http://www.weather.gov/alerts/

      The problem that I see with CAP or any other XML based scheme is that
      it would require large amounts of bandwidth to pull down these files
      say once per minute or two if thousands of computers, or even
      millions pull down these files constantly.

      What seems to be missing is some Internet based, lightweight polling
      or event delivery scheme where only minimal information is
      sent/received to indicate an event has occurred that matches what the
      subscriber would like to monitor.

      SAME alerts seem to fit the bill (simple FIP codes and event codes).
      When SAME alerts are transmitted over radio, the weather radios
      decode these SAME alerts and compare the user defined configuration
      to see if there is a match. If there is a match, it simply turns on
      the audio for the NWS radio (it might beep as well).

      I originally thought that UDP would be ideal for this type of
      notifications. The client could monitor the host for connectivity so
      that packet loss would not be a concern. However as Alan stated, the
      UDP scheme would probably not work well for 99% of the computers out
      there due to router/firewall problems.

      If we could use sockets (TCP) to quickly poll for data, that would be
      fine. I am not really sure how much overhead is involved with opening
      and closing sockets on a large scale, but I am sure we could find out.

      Assuming you had a mechanism to be notified of SAME type events, a
      program could then go to the NWS site and pull down the XML file (or
      monitor it for changes) to get the full text description of what
      happened. Unfortunatly since the XML files would not necessarily be
      in sync with the wire services, the scheme may devolve in to polling
      XML files again. It seems only the NWS would know when the XML files
      are being updated, perhaps the delay would be unacceptable for
      alerting, I do not know.

      There are already a few gizmos out there that monitor the NWS XML
      files although they do not seem to be wide spread. Example:

      http://www.widgetgallery.com/view.php?widget=36983


      --- In wuhu_software_group@yahoogroups.com, "Mark Wyman" <mark@...>
      wrote:
      >
      > Interesting, this would be a nice piece of information to place in
      the XML
      > dial program. The client periodically asks for an update from the
      host
      > server based on timing information in the XML file. The timing
      information
      > can be modified by the server to dynamically speed up reports
      during severe
      > weather outbreaks. Then there could be special fields in the XML
      for web
      > links, severity level, and what to do about it. For example launch
      a sound
      > player for the live feed, play an alarm sound, automatically pop
      open some
      > windows with direct information, etc.
      >
      >
      >
      > Having developed a few sockets programs in the past has resulted in
      mixed
      > emotions about the viability of such utilities unless doing very
      > data-intensive streams which requires that sort of effort (like the
      live
      > audio streams). Either that or you want to keep the data
      proprietary.
      > Firewalls are the #1 nemesis, #2 is client compatibility. It becomes
      > difficult to have multiple-platform software on custom socket
      protocols. You
      > can't leave the Mac users out! (Well, I know a few Windows guys
      that would
      > argue that point). If XML is part of rapid-fire requests, the
      additional
      > specialized fields can do a heck of a lot for you as long as the
      client
      > program is aware of them. For example additional fields would be
      something
      > like:
      >
      >
      >
      > <pickupRate>5</pickupRate>
      > <wathces>Tornado Watch</watches>
      > <watchLink>http://watchlink.com</watchLink>
      > <warnings>Severe Thunderstorm Warning</warnings>
      > <warningLink>http://whatever.com</warningLink>
      > <severityLevel>9</severityLevel>
      > <playAlarm>True</playAlarm>
      > <playLiveFeed>True</playLiveFeed>
      > <liveFeedLink>http://whatever.com/liveFeed</liveFeedLink>
      >
      >
      >
      > p.s. Note the field formatting ;-)
      >
      >
      >
      > XML defines that these do not always need to be present in the
      file, so
      > during boring days, the data does not need to be transmitted to save
      > overhead. The key would be to have the pickup rate vary according to
      > severity level (10 being a nuclear bomb is about to detonate under
      your
      > bed).
      >
      >
      >
      > Then this is a documentable method that Perl, Java, .NET etc can
      all access
      > for web interfaces or utilities without writing custom software
      except for
      > the live audio stream player.
      >
      >
      >
      > Just some ideas.
      >
      >
      >
      > -Mark Wyman
      >
      >
      >
      > _____
      >
      > From: wuhu_software_group@yahoogroups.com
      > [mailto:wuhu_software_group@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of
      wuhu_software
      > Sent: Friday, February 02, 2007 2:31 PM
      > To: wuhu_software_group@yahoogroups.com
      > Subject: [wuhu_software_group] Re: Tornados sweep through central
      Florida in
      > the middle of the night.
      >
      >
      >
      > Alan,
      >
      > I would be interested in developing an application for the tray.
      >
      > Let me know when you guys have a protocol/scheme to work with.
      >
      > I can throw applications together pretty quickly.
      >
      > Thanks.
      >
      > --- In wuhu_software_ <mailto:wuhu_software_group%40yahoogroups.com>
      > group@yahoogroups.com, "Alan Steremberg"
      > <alans@> wrote:
      > >
      > > Hi,
      > >
      > > We have an email alert product right now that you can sign up for
      > by zipcode
      > > ($10/year or free to weather station owners).
      > >
      > > Ed at AmbientWeather has a desktop app that alerts you in the
      tray,
      > but I
      > > don't think it is quite what we want.
      > >
      > > We have all the data, we are just missing a scalable way to
      deliver
      > the
      > > alerts, and the small client application to start playing the
      local
      > NWS
      > > weather feed, as well as putting up some alert data (plus it could
      > > optionally run an external program that could fire off x-10, etc).
      > >
      > > If someone wants to build the client application, we will be
      happy
      > to do the
      > > heavy lifting in the back end.
      > >
      > > Using UDP is tricky - it is unreliable (TCP doesn't have that
      much
      > overhead
      > > if we implement it carefully with custom software) and we can't
      > really
      > > easily send UDP packets from wunderground to anyone's computer at
      > home since
      > > 99% of them are behind a firewall router. We could use UPNP from
      > the client
      > > and try to open a hole in the firewall (like MSN messenger and
      > others) but
      > > it doesn't work on all the routers I have.. Just some of them. My
      > bellsouth
      > > modem doesn't support it. my linksys router does.
      > >
      > > I was hoping to send alerts of IM but I haven't built it yet,
      seems
      > like
      > > that might be easy / good.
      > >
      > >
      > > Alan
      > >
      > > On 2/2/07, wuhu_software <wuhu_software@> wrote:
      > > >
      > > > Alan,
      > > >
      > > > A few weeks ago I was attempting to find various real-time NWS
      > feeds
      > > > that are available to the general public. I found three feeds
      that
      > > > are available to the pulic. One is free, the other requires a
      one
      > > > time $75 fee, and I am not sure about the 3rd (I heard that it
      is
      > > > expensive). I am not sure which feeds you guys are subscribed
      to.
      > > >
      > > > In any case, I was exchanging emails with Art Kraus looking for
      > some
      > > > simple method to receive all SAME alerts that are active
      > throughout
      > > > the U.S. Apparently there is no such mechanism at the moment. He
      > > > thought this might be something that is developed over the next
      > few
      > > > years.
      > > >
      > > > The SAME alerts may be fed over the EMWIN network, although it
      is
      > > > difficult to find protocol information. They might also be sent
      > over
      > > > the NWS Wire Service or NOAAPORT, I am not sure. That might
      > require
      > > > some parsing to decode the SAME alerts from the other data.
      > > >
      > > > If you guys at WU could parse the NWS streams to decode alerts,
      > you
      > > > could develop an efficient polling and dissemination protocol,
      > this
      > > > could open up many possibilities. The key to any such system
      > would be
      > > > responsiveness without wasting a ton of bandwidth.
      > > >
      > > > As an example, if a client application could send WU a poll
      packet
      > > > that contains a list of FIP and event codes, WU could repond
      with
      > a
      > > > packet that describes a list of matching FIP codes and event
      > codes if
      > > > those events are active.
      > > >
      > > > These packets could be kept small and fast with the use of UDP
      > > > packets. Perhaps the clients register themselves one time with
      WU
      > and
      > > > WU will send out alerts when they become active. A simple
      watchdog
      > > > packet could be used to detect Internet failures on the client
      > side.
      > > >
      > > > On the client side, once the client receives a packet from WU
      and
      > > > sees matching FIP and alert codes, that is all it really needs
      to
      > > > begin alerting operations. It could then perform audio alerting,
      > > > reading and displaying the NWS XML based warning information
      > (based
      > > > on the active FIP code), and possibily take other user defined
      > > > actions including prompting the user to stream live audio.
      > > >
      > > > If such a service were open to developers, any number of client
      > > > applications could be developed to take advantage of such a
      > system.
      > > > You could have stand alone applications (perhaps on the
      toolbar),
      > or
      > > > integration with existing appications (weather apps, home
      > automation
      > > > systems, email and pager alert systems).
      > > >
      > > > So basically, it seems that all of the pieces could be put
      > together
      > > > easily. The main problem seems to be finding a real-time stream
      > that
      > > > contains all SAME alerts (or that can be parsed from the
      stream),
      > and
      > > > a central server to disseminate that data in real-time using an
      > > > efficient mecahnism to deliver the encoded data.
      > > >
      > > > ---
      > > >
      > > > Here is a breakdown of the SAME alerts:
      > > >
      > > > http://en.wikipedia
      > <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Specific_Area_Message_Encoding>
      > .org/wiki/Specific_Area_Message_Encoding
      > > >
      > > > Here are the Internet feeds that I found.
      > > >
      > > > 1) Emergency Managers Weather Information Network. It is
      > available to
      > > > the public. I am still trying to dig up information on the
      > protocol.
      > > > It is not well documented. This data is sent several ways,
      > satellite,
      > > > VHF radio, and the Internet. This data contains text and
      graphics
      > > > mixed together. There are 3 software packages for sale that
      > > > understand how to process the protocol, none are free.
      > > >
      > > > 2) NOAA Weather Wire Service. Although the stream of data is
      > > > controlled by one company, there is one time $75 registration
      fee.
      > > > Since you can telnet in to it, I am assuming it is just text. It
      > > > might be different using the satellite links, I am not sure.
      This
      > > > might be used to capture the events as they are put out on the
      > wire
      > > > but it may be more work as the alerts/warnings are not encoded.
      > > >
      > > > 3) The NOAAPORT broadcast system provides a one-way broadcast
      > > > communication of NOAA environmental data and information in
      near-
      > real
      > > > time to NOAA and external users. This broadcast is implemented
      by
      > a
      > > > commercial provider of satellite communications utilizing the C-
      > band.
      > > > It's primary purpose is for providing internal communications
      > within
      > > > the National Weather Service and for providing forecasts,
      warnings
      > > > and other products to the mass media (newspapers, radio
      stations,
      > TV,
      > > > etc.), emergency management agencies, and private weather
      > services.
      > > >
      > > > --- In wuhu_software_ <mailto:wuhu_software_group%
      40yahoogroups.com>
      > group@yahoogroups.com<wuhu_software_group%
      > 40yahoogroups.com>,
      > > > "Alan Steremberg"
      > > > <alans@> wrote:
      > > > >
      > > > > I think we need to make a desktop of flash widget that we can
      > > > trigger with
      > > > > an alert and start the audio playing. I also spoke to the
      sonos
      > > > people about
      > > > > integrating it into their system, but they didn't really
      > understand
      > > > the
      > > > > emergency aspect yet. ie: why people would want their radio to
      > > > automatically
      > > > > switch from pretty music to weather radio.
      > > > >
      > > > > Alan
      > > > >
      > > > > On 2/2/07, Mark Wyman <mark@> wrote:
      > > > > >
      > > > > > I always wondered about having telephones linked into the
      > > > Emergency
      > > > > > network, so your phone would emit a specialized ring during
      > local
      > > > > > emergencies like this. It would be driven by law from the
      > > > telephone company,
      > > > > > who could target just the areas of concern. Since these days
      > > > everyone has a
      > > > > > phone, and not many have weather radios, it would be an
      ideal
      > > > solution. Of
      > > > > > course they would probably tack on another $2 a month for
      this
      > > > service.
      > > > > >
      > > > > >
      > > > > >
      > > > > > -Mark
      > > > > >
      > > > > >
      > > > > > ------------------------------
      > > > > >
      > > > > > *From:*
      > wuhu_software_ <mailto:wuhu_software_group%40yahoogroups.com>
      > group@yahoogroups.com<wuhu_software_group%
      > 40yahoogroups.com>[mailto:
      > > > > > wuhu_software_ <mailto:wuhu_software_group%
      40yahoogroups.com>
      > group@yahoogroups.com<wuhu_software_group%
      > 40yahoogroups.com>]
      > > > *On Behalf Of *wuhu_software
      > > >
      > > > > > *Sent:* Friday, February 02, 2007 8:35 AM
      > > > > > *To:* wuhu_software_ <mailto:wuhu_software_group%
      40yahoogroups.com>
      > group@yahoogroups.com<wuhu_software_group%
      > 40yahoogroups.com>
      > > > > > *Subject:* [wuhu_software_group] Tornados sweep through
      > central
      > > > Florida in
      > > > > > the middle of the night.
      > > > > >
      > > > > >
      > > > > >
      > > > > > I was just watching the news this morning about the
      tornados
      > that
      > > > swept
      > > > > > through central Florida. The current estimate is that at
      least
      > > > one was
      > > > > > an F2 tornado. I guess 1988 was the last time one swept
      > through
      > > > the
      > > > > > area in the middle of the night (so the news says).
      > > > > >
      > > > > > Looks like a real mess over by New Smyrna (one of my
      favorite
      > > > spots in
      > > > > > Flordia, been there many times visting family).
      > > > > >
      > > > > > On the news, they discussed the real need for weather
      radios
      > to
      > > > wake
      > > > > > people up in the middle of the night. Especially in Florida.
      > > > > >
      > > > > > Interestingly, the two Orlando WU audio streams are up and
      > > > running. I
      > > > > > am not sure if they were up when the alerts went out, but I
      am
      > > > guessing
      > > > > > that they were.
      > > > > >
      > > > > > It sure would be nice to have the WU SAME radios on the
      > desktop.
      > > > > >
      > > > > > Even if the audio streams do go down, the virtual radio
      could
      > > > still get
      > > > > > a users attention by playing alert sounds, alert text, or
      even
      > > > > > activating alert devices (say X10 devices).
      > > > > >
      > > > > >
      > > > > >
      > > > >
      > > > >
      > > > >
      > > > > --
      > > > > Alan Steremberg
      > > > > Weather Underground
      > > > > 415-543-5022 x 103
      > > > > http://www.wundergr <http://www.wunderground.com> ound.com
      > > > >
      > > >
      > > >
      > > >
      > >
      > >
      > >
      > > --
      > > Alan Steremberg
      > > Weather Underground
      > > 415-543-5022 x 103
      > > http://www.wundergr <http://www.wunderground.com> ound.com
      > >
      >
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