[jdev] resources available via XMPP...

Jeff McAdams jeffm at iglou.com
Fri Apr 18 16:19:10 CDT 2008

Peter Saint-Andre wrote:
> Jeff McAdams wrote:
>> So, for example, with the earthquake info, the USGS has a near-realtime
>> feed of information that use their own protocol.  They have a Java
>> utility to receive those events and drop them in a file or is also able
>> to fire off a script.  A bit of simple parsing of the events, and some
>> not-so-simple integration with some GIS information could result in a
>> very cool resource for earthquakes that is very much in line with the
>> sorts of reports that iembot posts.  As the admin of the server that the
>> public version of IEMChat runs on, I think it would be fantastic if a
>> bot such as this were to use the same room breakdown for posting reports.
> The folks at pubsub.com (now defunct) had something like this for
> earthquakes and tsunamis (and perhaps other natural disasters, I can't
> quite recall). I'm not sure where they got their data. It sounds like we
> need to poke some folks at the USGS about using an open protocol. Do you
> have a URL for the data feed or that project?

Sheesh...every time I post to a list like this, I seem to forget to
include important information.  :/

The USGS has a software download page at:

The software package I was thinking of, is the QDDS (Quake Data
Distribution System).  ftp://ehzftp.wr.usgs.gov/QDDS/QDDS.html

Nothing special needs to be done to get a data feed, they're available
without any sort of registration or signing up via the Internet (the
default config file comes from 3 sources for redundancy), so I don't
think there really even needs to be any real involvement from the USGS
to make this work.  It might be a good idea to bring something like this
to their attention, as they might find it useful themselves!

It has a companion package, QDM (Quake Data Merge?) which combine
multiple reports of the same event into a single composite report.  Its
doc file is at ftp://ehzftp.wr.usgs.gov/QDM/QDM.html  I'm not sure which
would be more useful for a setup like this, maybe both in conjunction
would be useful.

This really would be a similar sort of setup to IEMChat, where the
domain specific data transmission system (a push sort of setup) gets
gatewayed into the more accessible XMPP system.

I think I mentioned earlier, QDDS has the ability to fire off a script
when an event is received that the earthquake event gets passed to it.
So, from there, it would be a matter of parsing the event and doing some
GIS stuff, and pass it through to whatever XMPP-based system was setup
for it.  The basic parsing of the event and getting it into XMPP would
be easy.  The GIS stuff would be harder, but still doable for someone
who has more programming chops than I do.

I think a lot of the big win for the NWS alerts and potentially
earthquake alerts is that its a "push" system from end to end.  Of
course, once we're in the XMPP world, it can all be event driven, and
not have to poll anything, but I think its important, for a good system
like this, for the source to be event driven as well.  iembot's feed is,
and an earthquake feed off this would be as well.  That makes
notifications that come from these sorts of systems more timely.  These
sorts of things also make sort of proof cases for fixing the "polling
problem", so I think its probably a useful exercise in that respect, too.

Anyway, I'm rambling a bit at this point.  If anyone else has an
interest in working on something like this, I would be more than happy
to be a resource point and assist in the work.  I really don't think I
have the programming chops to really do it myself, though.

If there's a wiki or something like that, where ideas like this could be
documented for people to look at and consider an implementation, I'd be
happy to write something up for that as well.

Jeff McAdams
"They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a
little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."
                                       -- Benjamin Franklin

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