OASIS Ratifies Data Exchange Standard

The EDXL-DE standard is expected to facilitate data exchange during national and international crises.

OASIS, the international standards group, announced June 20 that a new standard has been ratified to help facilitate data sharing during times of national or international crises.

The standard, EDXL-DE (Emergency Data Exchange Language-Distribution Element), smoothes the progress of data exchange across local, regional, tribal, national and international organizations in both the public and private sectors, officials said.

The 1.0 version of the standard was developed by the OASIS Emergency Management Technical Committee, in conjunction with input from different organizations, including the U.S. Department of Homeland Securitys Office for Interoperability and Compatibility, which itself has said it is seeking better ways to communicate.

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"The DHS is extremely pleased that EDXL-DE has been adopted by OASIS as an international standard. It will facilitate the implementation of a host of standards, which will lead to fully interoperable sharing of information in emergency-related applications," Chip Hines, acting director of the DHS Office for Interoperability and Compatibility, said in a statement. "The ability of this standard to transmit any content, from files to technical data exchange information, provides immediate capability to the emergency response community."

The DHS began the EDXL standard development work in 2004 as part of its Disaster Management eGov Initiative—a movement set in action to help facilitate interagency communications. DHS later partnered with OASIS to help the initiative progress beyond the Belt Way.

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What EDXL-DE does is act as a header to identify to whom—and under what circumstances—emergency information should be sent. Information that can be relayed includes, for example, basic warning messages defined by the Common Area Protocol, spreadsheets, text documents and video images.

The standard is intended to help get information to emergency response workers in the field without the hassle of making sure that the different data formats involved are able to interact.

The OASIS group is working on more message types for the standard; the group plans to extend EDXL to include a suite of emergency data types, such as protocols that address resource queries and requests, situation reports, and damage assessments.

The OASIS group is open to new contributions, officials said.

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