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Implementing a Common Alerting Protocol for hazard warning in Sri Lanka

Gordon A. Gow, PhD


The Indian Ocean tsunami of December 2004 and the false warnings and evacuations of March 2005 associated with the Great Nias earthquake highlighted the need not only for a sophisticated tsunami detection system in the region but also for a means to disseminate warning messages to local communities at risk. To be effective, local warning requires an interconnected system of diverse communication technologies which in turn require integration through a common data interchange format, such as the Common Alerting Protocol (CAP). The CAP standard was developed and introduced in 2004 to facilitate the interoperability of hazard warning technologies, but it has yet to be widely deployed, especially in less developed countries.
This article presents preliminary findings from an ongoing study that involves the implementation of the CAP standard to support a local all-hazards warning system in Sri Lanka. In particular, it describes the challenges of implementing a CAP-based information system for managing multilingual warnings across a set of five technologies in 32 tsunami-affected villages along the southern and eastern coasts of Sri Lanka.


public alerting, Common Alerting Protocol, tsunami, Sri Lanka

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