30 March 2005

Alaska Tsunami Warning Test: Problems with PubSub RSS feeds reporting no content

This blog-spot summarizes Mud's Test of the Alaska Tsunami warning system through XML feeds. Management attention is needed on PubSub RSS feeds.

Thank you for considering this test report and recommendations in your ongoing efforts to respond to earthquakes, Tsunamis and other disasters affecting the public.


Test overview


Alaska conducted a test of the Tsunami warning system. Mud's Tests conducted a parallel test of the Newsgator Online, PubSub Systems, and US Geological Survey XML feed integration systems.

All feeds were loaded prior to the tests. Mud's Tests is not affiliated with either PubSub Systems, NewsgatorOnline, USGS or Alaska Homeland Security.


Brief Findings


There was adequate notification of an impending test. USGS XML feed reported correctly during the test. No issues identified.

NewsGatorOnline continues to provide excellent integration with incoming feeds. No issues identified.


PubSub has a problem


PubSub has a problem with the RSS feeds. Atom feeds appear to be fine.

The RSS feeds, however, provide only placeholders, but no content. It remains unclear whether this RSS-related problem is isolated to Alaska or for the entire warning system.


Concern

It remains to be understood the scope of the RSS-feed problem in PubSub. Of concern is most users pick RSS feeds over Atom.

It further remains unclear whether the number of RSS-related problems on the Alaska-notification feeds was similarly widespread during the recent earthquake off Sumatra, both on 29 Mar 2005 and then 30 Mar 2005.

During the most recent 6.4 earthquake on 30 Mar, neither USGS or PubSub provided timely XML feeds. Information was first available through radio then Google.


USGS


PubSub uses a globe-link to link to USGS data. USGS in some of the links provides not timely update to the content. However, for example we observed the following message along all the PubSub-globe-links:

Recurring Message From All PubSub GlobeLinks
The webpage you are looking for has either moved or may still be in preparation if it describes a recent earthquake.

Please find the new location at http://earthquake.usgs.gov/ or for
recent earthquakes, try this location again in a few moments.


It would be useful to understand whether there is a problem with timely updates. It appears as though the links are fine, but the content is not meaningful. More specific information on update time-cycles would be more helpful.

If there is a problem with the webpage, it would be more useful if readers [remember, they are potentially in distress and looking for immediate assistance] are directed to a useful link with directions on where to travel. The existing links do not appear to provide this assistance.

Also, there was a problem with the timeliness of the data. During the test, data from 26 Mar appeared. This is unusual. Normally PubSub is a prospective search. The test URIs were loaded after the 26th. In reality, the actual notification through USGS on the 26 Mar 2005 event occurred 3 days later on 30 Mar 2005. USGS management needs to understand why there is a 3-day time lag in reporting what should be an instantaneous feed-report.


Immediate Recommendations


1. PubSub needs to fix the apparent problem with the RSS feeds. The RSS feeds provided a report, but provided no information or content. Again, all atom feeds appear to work.

2. NOAA needs to update one name on their contact list.


NOAA Data Appears Outdated


Finding: Press releases contained a phone number, which led us to the following individual:
Joel Curtis **(2004)
E-mail: joel.curtis@noaa.gov
Telephone: (907) 266-5105
317 East Harvard Avenue
Anchorage, AK. 99502
However, the note states that the year [2004] is associated with the year that the term expires.
Note: **( YEAR)...the year in which the three-year term as committee member expires.
It is 2005, and it appears as though the name is outdated; needs to be corrected; or the webpage is out of date.

Requested action: Please update the page to correct the year the term ends; update the name; or provide the correct information for future emergency contact information. Also, please confirm that Kathleen Cole and the alternative are correctly listed at PAFC/PACR



Recommendations for future Tests


3. Please include in future tests the specific notifications related to XML feeds and SMS messaging. Press releases, scrolling TV-alerts, news items, news updates, websites should include links to the USGS feed on earthquakes.

4. Please provide information to citizens on what to do if they do not receive an XML-feed or are missing content in an XML feed.

5. US Geological Survey should update its webpage to provide greater visibility to the RSS feed. The current location is at the bottom to the left. USGS should display prominently at the top of the page where people can easily find it, especially on the page about RSS.

6. The public should be given easy access to the link. USGS should include an auto-link capability for an aggregator like this [click on the link]: http://tinyurl.com/3phzo

This is the end of the Mud's Test Report for the Alaska Tsunami Warning System. If you have comments, concerns, or additional questions feel free to leave comments below.


LEGAL NOTICE


Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

You may not copy any of this work to promote a commercial product on any site or medium in the universe.

If you see this work posted on a commercial site, it violates the creative commons license; and the author does not endorse the commercial product.

Free to use for non-commercial uses. Link to this original blogspot and cite as .
This blog-spot summarizes Mud's Test of the Alaska Tsunami warning system through XML feeds. Management attention is needed on PubSub RSS feeds.

Thank you for considering this test report and recommendations in your ongoing efforts to respond to earthquakes, Tsunamis and other disasters affecting the public.


Test overview


Alaska conducted a test of the Tsunami warning system. Mud's Tests conducted a parallel test of the Newsgator Online, PubSub Systems, and US Geological Survey XML feed integration systems.

All feeds were loaded prior to the tests. Mud's Tests is not affiliated with either PubSub Systems, NewsgatorOnline, USGS or Alaska Homeland Security.


Brief Findings


There was adequate notification of an impending test. USGS XML feed reported correctly during the test. No issues identified.

NewsGatorOnline continues to provide excellent integration with incoming feeds. No issues identified.


PubSub has a problem


PubSub has a problem with the RSS feeds. Atom feeds appear to be fine.

The RSS feeds, however, provide only placeholders, but no content. It remains unclear whether this RSS-related problem is isolated to Alaska or for the entire warning system.


Concern

It remains to be understood the scope of the RSS-feed problem in PubSub. Of concern is most users pick RSS feeds over Atom.

It further remains unclear whether the number of RSS-related problems on the Alaska-notification feeds was similarly widespread during the recent earthquake off Sumatra, both on 29 Mar 2005 and then 30 Mar 2005.

During the most recent 6.4 earthquake on 30 Mar, neither USGS or PubSub provided timely XML feeds. Information was first available through radio then Google.


USGS


PubSub uses a globe-link to link to USGS data. USGS in some of the links provides not timely update to the content. However, for example we observed the following message along all the PubSub-globe-links:

Recurring Message From All PubSub GlobeLinks
The webpage you are looking for has either moved or may still be in preparation if it describes a recent earthquake.

Please find the new location at http://earthquake.usgs.gov/ or for
recent earthquakes, try this location again in a few moments.


It would be useful to understand whether there is a problem with timely updates. It appears as though the links are fine, but the content is not meaningful. More specific information on update time-cycles would be more helpful.

If there is a problem with the webpage, it would be more useful if readers [remember, they are potentially in distress and looking for immediate assistance] are directed to a useful link with directions on where to travel. The existing links do not appear to provide this assistance.

Also, there was a problem with the timeliness of the data. During the test, data from 26 Mar appeared. This is unusual. Normally PubSub is a prospective search. The test URIs were loaded after the 26th. In reality, the actual notification through USGS on the 26 Mar 2005 event occurred 3 days later on 30 Mar 2005. USGS management needs to understand why there is a 3-day time lag in reporting what should be an instantaneous feed-report.


Immediate Recommendations


1. PubSub needs to fix the apparent problem with the RSS feeds. The RSS feeds provided a report, but provided no information or content. Again, all atom feeds appear to work.

2. NOAA needs to update one name on their contact list.


NOAA Data Appears Outdated


Finding: Press releases contained a phone number, which led us to the following individual:
Joel Curtis **(2004)
E-mail: joel.curtis@noaa.gov
Telephone: (907) 266-5105
317 East Harvard Avenue
Anchorage, AK. 99502
However, the note states that the year [2004] is associated with the year that the term expires.
Note: **( YEAR)...the year in which the three-year term as committee member expires.
It is 2005, and it appears as though the name is outdated; needs to be corrected; or the webpage is out of date.

Requested action: Please update the page to correct the year the term ends; update the name; or provide the correct information for future emergency contact information. Also, please confirm that Kathleen Cole and the alternative are correctly listed at PAFC/PACR



Recommendations for future Tests


3. Please include in future tests the specific notifications related to XML feeds and SMS messaging. Press releases, scrolling TV-alerts, news items, news updates, websites should include links to the USGS feed on earthquakes.

4. Please provide information to citizens on what to do if they do not receive an XML-feed or are missing content in an XML feed.

5. US Geological Survey should update its webpage to provide greater visibility to the RSS feed. The current location is at the bottom to the left. USGS should display prominently at the top of the page where people can easily find it, especially on the page about RSS.

6. The public should be given easy access to the link. USGS should include an auto-link capability for an aggregator like this [click on the link]: http://tinyurl.com/3phzo

This is the end of the Mud's Test Report for the Alaska Tsunami Warning System. If you have comments, concerns, or additional questions feel free to leave comments below.


LEGAL NOTICE


Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

You may not copy any of this work to promote a commercial product on any site or medium in the universe.

If you see this work posted on a commercial site, it violates the creative commons license; and the author does not endorse the commercial product.

Free to use for non-commercial uses. Link to this original blogspot and cite as .
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