Title:
All-hazards information distribution method and system, and method of maintaining privacy of distributed all-hazards information
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
An information distribution method includes: gathering all-hazards information into an information exchange from a first information source; gathering all-hazards information into the information exchange from a second information source; distributing the all-hazards information from the information exchange to a first independently-controlled alert network; distributing the all-hazards information from the information exchange to a second independently-controlled alert network.


Inventors:
Brabec, Frantisek (North Potomac, MD, US)
Drescher, David Robert (Arlington, VA, US)
Ingraham II, Edward E. (Oakton, VA, US)
Park, Daniel D. (Arlington, VA, US)
Application Number:
11/987742
Publication Date:
03/19/2009
Filing Date:
12/04/2007
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
707/999.104, 707/999.107, 707/E17.009
International Classes:
G06F15/16; G06F17/00
View Patent Images:
Primary Examiner:
WHIPPLE, BRIAN P
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
KING & SPALDING, LLP (1100 LOUISIANA ST., STE. 4000, ATTN.: IP Docketing, HOUSTON, TX, 77002-5213, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. An information distribution method, comprising: gathering all-hazards information into an information exchange from a first information source; gathering all-hazards information into the information exchange from a second information source; distributing the all-hazards information from the information exchange to a first independently-controlled alert network; distributing the all-hazards information from the information exchange to a second independently-controlled alert network.

2. The method of claim 1, wherein the all-hazards information includes at least one of weather information, traffic information, earthquake information, epidemic information and fire information.

3. The method of claim 1, wherein the information exchange includes: one or more handlers that receive all-hazards information from the first and second information sources; and one or more handlers that distribute all-hazards information to the first and second independently-controlled alert networks.

4. The method of claim 1, wherein the plurality of independently controlled alert networks include a plurality of independently-controlled alert origination and distribution networks.

5. The method of claim 1, wherein the information exchange receives and distributes all-hazards information from one of the independently-controlled alert networks to another one of the independently-controlled alert networks.

6. The method of claim 1, further comprising distributing the all-hazards information from the first and second information sources to an independently-controlled entity other than an independently-controlled alert network.

7. The method of claim 6, wherein the independently-controlled entity other than an independently-controlled alert network includes one of a hospital, a school, a volunteer organization and an infrastructure provider.

8. The method of claim 1, further comprising processing the gathered all-hazards information from the first and second information sources prior to distribution.

9. The method of claim 8, wherein the processing includes normalizing the gathered all-hazards information from the first and second information sources.

10. The method of claim 9, wherein a format of the all-hazards information from the first information source is different than a format of the all-hazards information from the second information source, and wherein the normalizing includes reducing the different formats of the first and second information sources to the same format.

11. The method of claim 8, wherein the processing includes filtering the gathered all-hazards information from the first and second information sources.

12. The method of claim 11, wherein the filtering includes removing a redundant content from the gathered all-hazards information.

13. The method of claim 11, wherein the filtering includes removing an extraneous content from the gathered all-hazards information.

14. The method of claim 8, wherein the processing includes parsing the gathered all-hazards information from the first and second information sources into pieces of all-hazards information.

15. The method of claim 8, wherein processing includes storing all-hazards information from the first and second information sources.

16. The method of claim 15, wherein the storing includes entering the gathered all-hazards information into a database.

17. The method of claim 8, wherein the processing includes analyzing all-hazards information from the first and second information sources.

18. The method of claim 17, wherein the analyzing includes analyzing the all-hazards information from the first information source together with the all-hazards information from the second information source.

19. The method of claim 8, wherein the processing includes formatting all-hazards information from the first and second information sources.

20. The method of claim 19, wherein the formatting includes formatting the gathered all-hazards information into a plurality of different formats.

21. The method of claim 20, wherein all-hazards information having the plurality of different formats have substantially the same content.

22. A national information distribution method, comprising: gathering all-hazards information into a national information exchange from a plurality of information sources; distributing the all-hazards information from the national information exchange into a first regional information exchange corresponding to a first region; distributing the all-hazards information from the national information exchange into a second regional information exchange corresponding to a second region; distributing the all-hazards information from the first regional information exchange to a plurality of independently-controlled alert networks corresponding to the first region; and distributing the all-hazards information from the second regional information exchange to a plurality of independently-controlled alert networks corresponding the second region.

23. The method of claim 22, wherein the all-hazards information includes at least one of weather information, traffic information, earthquake information, epidemic information and fire information.

24. The method of claim 22, wherein the independently controlled alert networks corresponding to the first region include a plurality of independently-controlled alert origination and distribution networks, and wherein the independently controlled alert networks corresponding to the second region include a plurality of independently-controlled alert origination and distribution networks.

25. The method of claim 22, wherein the national information exchange receives and distributes all-hazards information from one of the regional information exchanges to another one of the regional information exchanges.

26. The method of claim 22, further comprising distributing the all-hazards information from the plurality of information sources to an independently-controlled entity other than an independently-controlled alert network.

27. The method of claim 26, wherein the independently-controlled entity other than an independently-controlled alert network includes one of a hospital, a school, a volunteer organization and an infrastructure provider.

28. The method of claim 22, wherein the national information exchange receives all-hazards information from national information sources, wherein the first regional information exchange receives all-hazards information from regional information sources corresponding to the first region, and wherein the second regional information exchange receives all-hazards information from regional information sources corresponding to the second region.

29. The method of claim 28, wherein the national information exchange processes the all-hazards information received from the national information sources, wherein the first regional information exchange processes the all-hazards information received from the regional information sources corresponding to the first region, and wherein the second regional information exchange processes the all-hazards information received from the regional information sources corresponding to the second region.

30. The method of claim 29, wherein the processing of the national and first and second regional information exchanges includes normalizing the gathered all-hazards information from the national and first and second regional information sources.

31. The method of claim 29, wherein the processing of the national and first and second regional information exchanges includes filtering the gathered all-hazards information from the national and first and second regional information sources.

32. The method of claim 29, wherein the processing of the national and first and second regional information exchanges includes parsing the gathered all-hazards information from the national and first and second regional information sources into pieces of all-hazards information.

33. The method of claim 29, wherein the processing of the national and first and second regional information exchanges includes storing all-hazards information from the national and first and second regional information sources.

34. The method of claim 29, wherein the processing of the national and first and second regional information exchanges includes analyzing all-hazards information from the national and first and second regional information sources.

35. The method of claim 29, wherein the processing of the national and first and second regional information exchanges includes formatting all-hazards information from the national and first and second regional information sources.

36. An information distribution system, comprising: a first independently-controlled all-hazards alert network; a second independently-controlled all-hazards alert network; an information exchange connected to the first and second independently-controlled all-hazards alert networks.

37. The system of claim 36, wherein the all-hazards includes at least one of weather, traffic, earthquake, epidemic and fire.

38. The system of claim 36, further comprising an independently-controlled entity other than an independently-controlled alert network connected to the information exchange.

39. The system of claim 38, wherein the independently-controlled entity other than an independently-controlled alert network includes one of a hospital, a school, a volunteer organization and an infrastructure provider.

40. The system of claim 36, wherein the information exchange includes: one or more information receiving handlers for receiving all-hazards information from a plurality of information sources; and one or more information distributing handlers connected to the first and second independently-controlled all-hazards alert networks.

41. The system of claim 40, wherein the information exchange includes one or more processors connected to the one or more information receiving handlers and the one or more information distributing handlers.

42. A national information distribution system, comprising: a plurality of first independently-controlled all-hazards alert networks corresponding to a first region; a plurality of second independently-controlled all-hazards alert networks corresponding to a second region; a first regional information exchange connected to the first independently-controlled all-hazards alert networks; a second regional information exchange connected to the second independently-controlled all-hazards alert networks; a national information exchange connected to the first and second regional information exchanges.

43. The system of claim 42, wherein the all-hazards includes at least one of weather, traffic, earthquake, epidemic and fire.

44. The system of claim 42, further comprising an independently-controlled entity other than an independently-controlled alert network connected to the first or second regional exchanges.

45. The system of claim 44 wherein the independently-controlled entity other than an independently-controlled alert network includes one of a hospital, a school, a volunteer organization and an infrastructure provider.

46. The system of claim 42, wherein the independently controlled alert networks corresponding to the first region include a plurality of independently-controlled alert origination and distribution networks, and wherein the independently controlled alert networks corresponding to the second region include a plurality of independently-controlled alert origination and distribution networks.

47. The system of claim 42, wherein the national information exchange connects to national information sources, wherein the first regional information exchange connects to regional information sources corresponding to the first region, and wherein the second regional information exchange connects to regional information sources corresponding to the second region.

48. A method of maintaining privacy of distributed information, comprising: receiving a determination that an information source is publishable; receiving a determination that another information source is authorized-only; receiving a determination that another information source is approved-only; offering a potential subscriber a subscription to the publishable information source; receiving a request for subscription to the publishable information source from the offered potential subscriber; accepting the request for subscription to the publishable information source; receiving authorization evidence from a potential subscriber to the authorized-only information source; offering the authorized potential subscriber a subscription to the authorized-only information source; receiving a request for subscription to the authorized-only information source from the offered potential subscriber; accepting the request for subscription to the authorized-only information source; offering a potential subscriber a subscription to the approved-only information source; receiving a request for subscription to the approved-only information source from the offered potential subscriber; transmitting to a provider of the approved-only information source the request for subscription to the approved-only information source; receiving an approval of the request from the provider; accepting the approved request for subscription to the approved-only information source; receiving all-hazards information into an information exchange from the publishable information source; receiving all-hazards information into the information exchange from the authorized-only information source; receiving all-hazards information into the information exchange from the approved-only information source; distributing the publishable all-hazards information to the accepted subscriber to the publishable information source; distributing the authorized-only all-hazards information to the accepted subscriber to the authorized-only information source; and distributing the approved-only all-hazards information to the accepted subscriber to the approved-only information source.

49. The method of claim 48, wherein the determinations are received from the providers of the information sources.

50. The method of claim 48, wherein the authorization evidence includes an authorization code.

51. The method of claim 50, wherein the authorization code is an alphanumeric authorization code.

52. The method of claim 48, wherein the request for subscription to the approved-only information source includes identification information of the potential subscriber.

53. The method of claim 48, further comprising: transmitting to a provider of the authorized-only information source the request for subscription to the authorized-only information source; and receiving an approval of the request from the provider of the authorized-only information source, wherein the accepted request for subscription to the authorized-only information source is an approved request.

54. A method of maintaining privacy of distributed information, comprising: receiving a determination that an information source is publishable; receiving a determination that another information source is non-publishable; offering a potential subscriber a subscription to the publishable information source; receiving a request for subscription to the publishable information source from the offered potential subscriber; accepting the request for subscription to the publishable information source; receiving authorization evidence from a potential subscriber to the non-publishable information source; offering the authorized potential subscriber a subscription to the non-publishable information source; receiving a request for subscription to the non-publishable information source from the offered potential subscriber; accepting the request for subscription to the non-publishable information source; receiving all-hazards information into an information exchange from the publishable information source; receiving all-hazards information into the information exchange from the non-publishable information source; distributing the publishable all-hazards information to the accepted subscriber to the publishable information source; and distributing the non-publishable all-hazards information to the accepted subscriber to the non-publishable information source.

55. The method of claim 54, wherein the determinations are received from the providers of the information sources.

56. The method of claim 54, wherein the authorization evidence includes an authorization code.

57. The method of claim 56, wherein the authorization code is an alphanumeric authorization code.

58. The method of claim 54, further comprising: transmitting to a provider of the non-publishable information source the request for subscription to the non-publishable information source; and receiving an approval of the request from the provider of the non-publishable information source, wherein the accepted request for subscription to the non-publishable information source is an approved request.

59. A method of maintaining privacy of distributed information, comprising: receiving a determination that an information source is publishable; receiving a determination that another information source is non-publishable; offering a potential subscriber a subscription to the publishable information source; receiving a request for subscription to the publishable information source from the offered potential subscriber; accepting the request for subscription to the publishable information source; offering a potential subscriber a subscription to the non-publishable information source; receiving a request for subscription to the non-publishable information source from the offered potential subscriber; transmitting to a provider of the non-publishable information source the request for subscription to the non-publishable information source; receiving an approval of the request from the provider; accepting the approved request for subscription to the non-publishable information source; receiving all-hazards information into an information exchange from the publishable information source; receiving all-hazards information into the information exchange from the non-publishable information source; distributing the publishable all-hazards information to the accepted subscriber to the publishable information source; and distributing the non-publishable all-hazards information to the accepted subscriber to the non-publishable information source.

60. The method of claim 59, wherein the request for subscription to the non-publishable information source includes identification information of the potential subscriber.

61. An information distribution method, comprising: receiving a plurality of different formats of all-hazards information from a plurality of information sources; processing the different formats of all-hazards information into normalized information; distributing all-hazards messages corresponding to the normalized all-hazards information to the plurality of entities, wherein a plurality of the all-hazards messages are distributed in different formats with substantially the same content.

62. The method of claim 61, wherein the all-hazards information includes at least one of weather information, traffic information, earthquake information, epidemic information and fire information.

63. The method of claim 61, wherein the receiving includes receiving a plurality of different formats of pushed all-hazards information.

64. The method of claim 61, wherein the receiving includes retrieving all-hazards information through polling one or more of the information sources.

65. The method of claim 64, further comprising maintaining polling parameters for the one or more information sources.

66. The method of claim 65, further comprising accepting the polling parameters from one or more information source providers.

67. The method of claim 61, wherein processing the different formats of all-hazards information into normalized information includes reducing the number of different formats of all-hazards information.

68. The method of claim 61, wherein processing the different formats of all-hazards information into normalized information includes reducing the different formats to a standard format of all-hazards information.

69. The method of claim 68, wherein the processing includes extracting payloads from the received information.

70. The method of claim 69, wherein the processing includes assigning one or more feeds to the payloads.

71. The method of claim 70, wherein the processing includes identifying pieces of information included in the payloads of each assigned feed.

72. The method of claim 61, further comprising enhancing the content of the received information.

73. The method of claim 72, wherein the enhancing includes expanding abbreviations, translating, and attaching timestamps to the received information.

74. The method of claim 72, wherein the enhancing includes connecting visual or audio information to a text-based received information.

75. The method of claim 72, wherein the enhancing includes geolocating affected areas of the received information for providing visual displays of the affected areas to the entities.

76. The method of claim 61, further comprising entering the normalized information into one or more databases.

77. The method of claim 61, further comprising initiating all-hazards messages from the normalized information.

78. The method of claim 76, further analyzing the normalized information across multiple entries and initiating an all-hazards message resulting from the analysis.

79. The method of claim 77, where the distributing includes identifying the entities that are subscribed to receive the initiated all-hazards messages.

80. The method of claim 79, further comprising maintaining subscription parameters for the entities.

81. The method of claim 80, further comprising accepting the subscription parameters provided by the entity.

82. The method of claim 79, wherein the distributing includes composing one or more all-hazards messages corresponding to each initiated all-hazards message.

83. The method of claim 82, wherein the distributing includes pushing the one or more all-hazards messages to the identified entities.

84. The method of claim 82, wherein the distributing includes composing a plurality of all-hazards messages in different formats with substantially the same content.

85. The method of claim 61, further comprising receiving a response to an all-hazards message.

86. The method of claim 85, further comprising identifying the all-hazards message corresponding to the response.

87. The method of claim 86, further comprising identifying the information source corresponding to the all-hazards message.

88. The method of claim 87 further comprising pushing the response to a provider of the information source.

89. An information exchange, comprising: one or more information receiving handlers capable of receiving a plurality of information formats; one or more processors capable of converting different all-hazards information formats into normalized all-hazards information, wherein the one or more processors are connected to the one or more information receiving handlers; one or more information distributing handlers connected to the one or more processors capable of distributing all-hazards information in a plurality of information formats.

90. The exchange of claim 89, wherein the one or more information receiving handlers include a plurality of push handlers.

91. The exchange of claim 89, wherein the one or more processors include one or more poller daemons.

92. The exchange of claim 91, further comprising one or more information source managers connected to the one or more poller daemons.

93. The exchange of claim 92, further comprising one or more information source application programming interfaces (API) connected to the one or more information source managers.

94. The exchange of claim 89, wherein the one or more processors include one or more content extractors connected to the one or more information receiving handlers.

95. The exchange of claim 94, wherein the one or more processors include one or more feed parsers connected to the one or more content extractors.

96. The exchange of claim 95, wherein the one or more processors include one or more information enhancers connected to the one or more feed parsers.

97. The exchange of claim 96, wherein the one or more information enhancers include at least one of an abbreviation expander, a translator and a timestamp attacher.

98. The exchange of claim 96 wherein the one or more information enhancers connect visual or audio information to a text-based received information.

99. The exchange of claim 96, wherein the one or more information enhancers geolocate affected areas of the received information for providing visual displays of the affected areas to the entities.

100. The exchange of claim 89, further comprising one or more databases connected to the one or more processors.

101. The exchange of claim 89, further comprising one or more controllers connected to the one or more processors.

102. The exchange of claim 100, further comprising one or more controllers connected to the one or more databases.

103. The exchange of claim 101 where the one or more distributing handlers include one or more message dispatchers connected to the one or more controllers.

104. The exchange of claim 103, where the one or more distribution handlers include one or more subscription managers connected to the one or more message dispatchers.

105. The exchange of claim 104, further comprising one or more subscription management application programming interfaces connected to the one or more subscription managers.

106. The exchange of claim 103, wherein the one or more distributing handlers includes one or more subscription handlers connected to the one or more message dispatchers.

107. The exchange of claim 89, further comprising one or more response handlers that receive a response to an all-hazards message.

108. The exchange of claim 107, further comprising a response dispatcher connected to the one or more response handlers.

Description:

The present invention is a Continuation-In-Part based on U.S. patent application Ser. No. 10/829,181, filed on Apr. 22, 2004, which claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Application No. 60/320,133, filed Apr. 22, 2003, and U.S. Provisional Application No. 60/514,873, filed Oct. 29, 2003, all of which are hereby incorporated by reference for all purposes as if fully set forth herein.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates to all-hazards information distribution methods and a system therefor, and methods of maintaining privacy of distributed all-hazards information.

2. Discussion of the Related Art

When events occur that affect personal or communal safety or convenience, communication of the events is important. The failure to distribute information regarding the events may have a detrimental effect. Distributing the information in a timely fashion is important as well. If information is received late, or is not provided in a useful or convenient format, it may not be helpful or may be inappropriately disregarded. Furthermore, privacy concerns from providers of the information may prevent distribution of the information or may prevent timely distribution of the information.

Accordingly, there exists a need for facilitating the distribution of time-sensitive and privacy-sensitive all-hazards information in an efficient manner.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

Accordingly, the present invention is directed to an information distribution method, information distribution system, and method of maintaining privacy of distributed information that substantially obviates one or more of the problems due to limitations and disadvantages of the related art.

An advantage of the present invention is to provide a method and system for distributing all-hazards information to a plurality of independently-controlled alert networks.

Another advantage of the present invention is to provide a method and system for gathering all-hazards information in a plurality of different formats.

Yet another advantage of the present invention is to provide a method and system for distributing all-hazards information into a plurality of different formats.

Yet another advantage of the present invention is to maintain privacy of distributed all-hazards information.

Additional features and advantages of the invention will be set forth in the description which follows, and in part will be apparent from the description, or may be learned by practice of the invention. The objectives and other advantages of the invention will be realized and attained by the structure particularly pointed out in the written description and claims hereof as well as the appended drawings.

To achieve these and other advantages and in accordance with the purpose of the present invention, as embodied and broadly described, an information distribution method includes: gathering all-hazards information into an information exchange from a first information source; gathering all-hazards information into the information exchange from a second information source; distributing the all-hazards information from the information exchange to a first independently-controlled alert network; distributing the all-hazards information from the information exchange to a second independently-controlled alert network.

In another aspect of the present invention, a national information distribution method includes: gathering all-hazards information into a national information exchange from a plurality of information sources; distributing the all-hazards information from the national information exchange into a first regional information exchange corresponding to a first region; distributing the all-hazards information from the national information exchange into a second regional information exchange corresponding to a second region; distributing the all-hazards information from the first regional information exchange to a plurality of independently-controlled alert networks corresponding to the first region; and distributing the all-hazards information from the second regional information exchange to a plurality of independently-controlled alert networks corresponding the second region.

In yet another aspect of the present invention, an information distribution system includes: a first independently-controlled all-hazards alert network; a second independently-controlled all-hazards alert network; an information exchange connected to the first and second independently-controlled all-hazards alert networks.

In yet another aspect of the present invention, a national information distribution system includes: a plurality of first independently-controlled all-hazards alert networks corresponding to a first region; a plurality of second independently-controlled all-hazards alert networks corresponding to a second region; a first regional information exchange connected to the first independently-controlled all-hazards alert networks; a second regional information exchange connected to the second independently-controlled all-hazards alert networks; a national information exchange connected to the first and second regional information exchanges.

In yet another aspect of the present invention, a method of maintaining privacy of distributed information includes: receiving a determination that an information source is publishable; receiving a determination that another information source is authorized-only; receiving a determination that another information source is approved-only; offering a potential subscriber a subscription to the publishable information source; receiving a request for subscription to the publishable information source from the offered potential subscriber; accepting the request for subscription to the publishable information source; receiving authorization evidence from a potential subscriber to the authorized-only information source; offering the authorized potential subscriber a subscription to the authorized-only information source; receiving a request for subscription to the authorized-only information source from the offered potential subscriber; accepting the request for subscription to the authorized-only information source; offering a potential subscriber a subscription to the approved-only information source; receiving a request for subscription to the approved-only information source from the offered potential subscriber; transmitting to a provider of the approved-only information source the request for subscription to the approved-only information source; receiving an approval of the request from the provider; accepting the approved request for subscription to the approved-only information source; receiving all-hazards information into an information exchange from the publishable information source; receiving all-hazards information into the information exchange from the authorized-only information source; receiving all-hazards information into the information exchange from the approved-only information source; distributing the publishable all-hazards information to the accepted subscriber to the publishable information source; distributing the authorized-only all-hazards information to the accepted subscriber to the authorized-only information source; and distributing the approved-only all-hazards information to the accepted subscriber to the approved-only information source.

In yet another aspect of the present invention, a method of maintaining privacy of distributed information includes: receiving a determination that an information source is publishable; receiving a determination that another information source is non-publishable; offering a potential subscriber a subscription to the publishable information source; receiving a request for subscription to the publishable information source from the offered potential subscriber; accepting the request for subscription to the publishable information source; receiving authorization evidence from a potential subscriber to the non-publishable information source; offering the authorized potential subscriber a subscription to the non-publishable information source; receiving a request for subscription to the non-publishable information source from the offered potential subscriber; accepting the request for subscription to the non-publishable information source; receiving all-hazards information into an information exchange from the publishable information source; receiving all-hazards information into the information exchange from the non-publishable information source; distributing the publishable all-hazards information to the accepted subscriber to the publishable information source; and distributing the non-publishable all-hazards information to the accepted subscriber to the non-publishable information source.

In yet another aspect of the present invention, a method of maintaining privacy of distributed information includes: receiving a determination that an information source is publishable; receiving a determination that another information source is non-publishable; offering a potential subscriber a subscription to the publishable information source; receiving a request for subscription to the publishable information source from the offered potential subscriber; accepting the request for subscription to the publishable information source; offering a potential subscriber a subscription to the non-publishable information source; receiving a request for subscription to the non-publishable information source from the offered potential subscriber; transmitting to a provider of the non-publishable information source the request for subscription to the non-publishable information source; receiving an approval of the request from the provider; accepting the approved request for subscription to the non-publishable information source; receiving all-hazards information into an information exchange from the publishable information source; receiving all-hazards information into the information exchange from the non-publishable information source; distributing the publishable all-hazards information to the accepted subscriber to the publishable information source; and distributing the non-publishable all-hazards information to the accepted subscriber to the non-publishable information source.

In yet another aspect of the present invention, an information distribution method includes: receiving a plurality of different formats of all-hazards information from a plurality of information sources; processing the different formats of all-hazards information into normalized information; distributing all-hazards messages corresponding to the normalized all-hazards information to the plurality of entities, wherein a plurality of the all-hazards messages are distributed in different formats with substantially the same content.

In yet another aspect of the present invention, an information exchange includes: one or more information receiving handlers capable of receiving a plurality of information formats; one or more processors capable of converting different all-hazards information formats into normalized all-hazards information, wherein the one or more processors are connected to the one or more information receiving handlers; one or more information distributing handlers connected to the one or more processors capable of distributing all-hazards information in a plurality of information formats.

It is to be understood that both the foregoing general description and the following detailed description are exemplary and explanatory and are intended to provide further explanation of the invention as claimed.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The accompanying drawings, which are included to provide a further understanding of the invention and are incorporated in and constitute a part of this specification, illustrate embodiments of the invention and together with the description serve to explain the principles of the invention.

In the drawings:

FIG. 1 illustrates an information distribution system according to an embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 2 illustrates an information distribution system and an all hazards alert network according to an embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 3 illustrates a national information distribution system according to an embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 4 illustrates a national information distribution system according to an embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 5 illustrates a national information distribution system according to an embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 6 illustrates an information exchange connected to information sources according to an embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 7 illustrates an information exchange including a push handler, a poller daemon, an information source manager and an information source API according to an embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 8 illustrates an information exchange including a normalizing unit according to an embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 9 illustrates an information exchange including a content extractor according to an embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 10 illustrates an information exchange including a feed parser according to an embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 11 illustrates an information exchange including a content enhancer according to an embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 12 illustrates an information exchange including a database according to an embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 13 illustrates an information exchange including a controller according to an embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 14 illustrates an information exchange connected to information receivers according to an embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 15 illustrates an information exchange including a message dispatcher, a subscription handler and a subscription API according to an embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 16 illustrates an information exchange including a response handler and a response dispatcher according to an embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 17 illustrates an information exchange according to an embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 18 illustrates an method of maintaining privacy of distributed information according to an embodiment of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE ILLUSTRATED EMBODIMENTS

Reference will now be made in detail to embodiments of the present invention, example of which is illustrated in the accompanying drawings.

FIG. 1 illustrates a computer network-based information distribution system (100), including at least one information exchange (102), a plurality of all-hazards alert networks (104) connected to the information exchange (102), one or more entities other than alert networks (106) connected to the information exchange (102) and a plurality of information sources (108) connected to the information exchange (102). The information exchange (102) receives all-hazards information from the information sources (108) and distributes the all-hazards information to the all-hazards alert networks (104) and the entities other than alert networks (106). Additionally, one or more all-hazards alert networks (104) and one or more entities other than alert networks (106) may also be information sources.

FIG. 2 illustrates an information exchange (102) connected to an all-hazards alert network (104). The all-hazards alert network (104) includes at least one alerting hub (200), one or more alert originators (202) connected to the alerting hub, and a plurality of alert receiving equipment (204) connected to the alerting hub (200). The alert originators (202) originate all-hazards alerts. The alerting hub (200) receives the originated all-hazards alerts and distributes the received all-hazards alerts to the plurality of receiving equipment (204). The alert originators (202) may originate all-hazards alerts in different formats. The alerting hub (200) normalizes the different formats by reducing the differences between the different formats, reducing the number of different formats, or by normalizing the different formats to a standard format. The plurality of alert receiving equipment (204) may have a plurality of different format requirements. The alerting hub (200) formats the all-hazards alerts into different formats corresponding to the different format requirements of the plurality of alert receiving equipment (204). The plurality of alert receiving equipment (204) may receive alerts via email, pager, text message, voice and alert applications. Two or more of the alert receiving equipment (204) may be possessed by a single user.

Additionally, the alerting hub (200) may receive responses from the alert receiving equipment (204) and distribute the responses to the originator of the alert corresponding to the response. The alerting hub (200) may normalize the alert responses and format the alert responses corresponding to format requirements of the alert originator (202).

Furthermore, the information exchange may connect to a plurality of all-hazards alert networks. The all-hazards alert networks may be independently-controlled and may include: all-hazards alert networks controlled by different local governments; all-hazards alert networks controlled by different state governments; all-hazards alert networks controlled by different federal entities; and all-hazards alert networks controlled by hospitals, airports, universities, and businesses.

Also, the information exchange may connect to a plurality of entities other than alert networks. The entities may include different local governments; all-hazards alert networks controlled by different state governments; all-hazards alert networks controlled by different federal entities; and all-hazards alert networks controlled by hospitals, airports, universities, and businesses.

FIG. 3 illustrates a national information distribution system (300), including a national information exchange (302) connected to a plurality of information sources (304) and to a plurality of regional information exchanges (306) corresponding to a plurality of regions. The national information exchange (302) may receive all-hazards information from the information sources (304) and may distribute to the regional information exchanges (306).

Optionally, the national information exchange (302) determines one or more affected regions of the received all-hazards information and distributes the all-hazards information affecting a first region (dotted lines) into a corresponding first regional information exchange (306a) and distribute the all-hazards information affecting a second region (dashed lines) into a corresponding second regional information exchange (306b). Additionally, the national information exchange (302) may distribute all-hazards information affecting additional regions into corresponding additional regional information exchanges (306).

As illustrated in FIG. 4, the national information exchange (302) receives from the first regional information exchange (306a) all-hazards information affecting the second region (dashed lines) and distributes to the corresponding second regional information exchange (306b). Likewise, the national information exchange (302) receives from the second regional information exchange (306b) all-hazards information affecting the first region (dotted lines) and distributes to the corresponding first regional information exchange (306a).

FIG. 5 illustrates a national information distribution system (300), including a national information exchange (302) connected to a plurality of national information sources (500) and to a plurality of regional information exchanges (306) corresponding to a plurality of regions. A first regional information exchange (306a) connects to one or more information sources corresponding to a first region and to a plurality of all-hazards alert networks corresponding to the first region. A second regional information exchange connects to one or more information sources corresponding to a second region and to a plurality of all-hazards alert networks corresponding (104a) to the second region.

Preferably, the national information exchange (302) gathers all-hazards information from the national information sources (500). The regional information exchanges (306) gathers all-hazards information from the regional information sources (502). The national information exchange (302) distributes all-hazards information to the regional information exchanges (306). The first regional information exchange (306a) distributes all-hazards information from the national information exchange (302) and from the first regional information sources (502a) to the first all-hazards alert networks (104a). Likewise, the second regional information exchange (306b) distributes all-hazards information from the national information exchange (302) and from the second regional information sources (502b) to the second all-hazards alert networks (104b). Also, the national information exchange (302) distributes directly to the plurality of all-hazards alert networks (104a) corresponding to the first region and the plurality of all-hazards alert networks corresponding to the second region (104b).

The regional information exchanges may, of course, correspond to a geographic region. In an alternate embodiment, the regional information exchanges may also correspond to domain-based regions. Domain-based regional information exchanges may generally relate to specialized subjects of interest to users of the domain-based regional information exchanges. The domain-based regional information exchanges may include information exchanges directed towards warning ordinary citizens, information exchanges directed towards warning first responders, information exchanges directed towards local, state, or federal agencies having specialized subjects of interest. Of course, geographic and domain-based regional information exchanges could be considered together in the information distribution system 100.

Additionally, one or more of the all-hazards alert networks may also be regional information sources. Accordingly, a first regional information exchange may gather all-hazards information from an all-hazards alert network that is also a regional information source and distribute to the one or more of the all-hazards alert networks corresponding to the first region or to one or more of the all-hazards alert networks corresponding to the second region. Also, the first regional information exchange may distribute directly to the all-hazards networks corresponding the second region.

The receiving and distributing of all-hazards information may occur in real-time, including that no action is required of a person between the receiving and distributing of the all-hazards information. The receiving and distributing of all-hazards information may be moderated, including that a decision of a person (moderator) occurs between the receiving and distributing of all-hazards information. Moderators may monitor incoming traffic, modify messages, forward messages and reject messages. Moderators may be alerted when new messages are received. The information exchanges may include both real-time and moderated gathering and distribution of all-hazards information.

All-hazards information generally relates to time sensitive information relating to personal or communal safety or convenience, and may include weather information, traffic information, seismic information, flood information, epidemic information, crime information, fire information, government announcements, school closings, tax notices, sporting events cancellations, terrorist information, biohazards information and natural disasters information. All-hazards information sources may include publicly available all-hazards information sources and non-publicly available all-hazards information sources. The non-publicly available all-hazards information sources may include internal government information sources and private information sources. The all-hazards information received from information sources may be text-based all-hazards information. The distributed all-hazards information may be distributed wirelessly. The distributed all-hazards information may be distributed via a packet-based network.

Additionally, the information exchange may receive and transmit non all-hazards information. Non-all-hazards information may include administrative information and subscription information.

National information sources may include information sources designed to provide all-hazards information affecting a nation. Regional information sources may include sources designed to provide all-hazards information specific to a region. Geographically regional information sources may include geographically regional traffic information, geographically regional news information, geographically regional weather information and geographically regional monitoring systems. National information sources may include the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration and the World Health Organization.

FIG. 6 illustrates an information exchange (600) connected to a plurality of information sources (602). The information exchange (600) includes one or more receiving handlers (604), one or more processing units (606) connected to the receiving handler (604), and one or more distributing handlers (608) connected to the processing units (606). The receiving handlers receive all-hazards information from the information sources (602), the processing units (606) process the received all-hazards information, and the distributing handlers (608) distribute the processed all-hazards information. The receiving handlers (604) may receive the all-hazards information in a plurality of different formats (f1, f2) from the plurality of information sources (602).

FIG. 7 illustrates an information exchange (600) connected to a plurality of information sources (602). The information exchange (600) includes one or more push handlers (700), one or more poller daemons (702), one or more processing units (606) connected to the push handlers (700) and to the poller daemons (702), and one or more distributing handlers (608) connected to the processing units (606). The push handlers (700) receive pushed all-hazards information from one or more information sources (602) and the poller daemons (702) retrieve polled all-hazards information from one or more information sources (602). The processing units (606) process the all-hazards information from the push handlers (700) and the poller daemons (702). The distributing handlers (608) distribute the processed all-hazards information.

The push handlers (700) may receive all-hazards information in a plurality of different formats from a plurality of information sources, and the poller daemon (702) may receive all-hazards information in a plurality of different formats from a plurality of information sources (602). The poller daemons (702) may poll the one or more information sources at a predefined frequency. Polling methods include polling via HTTP GET and via HTTP POST. Furthermore, other types of receiving handlers may be added as plug-in modules to the information exchange, and any data source may be accessed.

FIG. 7 further illustrates that the information exchange may include one or more information source managers (704) connected to the poller daemons (702) and one or more information source application programming interfaces (API) (706) connected to the information source managers (704). The poller daemons (702) retrieve polled all-hazards information from one or more information sources (602). The processing units (606) process the all-hazards information from the poller daemons (702). The distributing handlers (608) distribute the processed all-hazards information. The information source managers (704) maintain polling parameters specific to each information source. The information source API (706) accepts polling parameters from information source providers and communicate the polling parameters to the information source managers (704). The polling parameters may include delivery method, polling frequency and information format. The information source managers (704) communicate the polling parameters to the poller daemons (702).

FIG. 8 illustrates an information exchange (600), including one or more receiving handlers (604), one or more normalizing units (800) connected to the receiving handlers (604), and one or more distributing handlers (608) connected to the normalizing units (800). The receiving handlers (604) receive all-hazards information in a plurality of different formats (f1, f2), the normalizing units (800) normalize the plurality of different formats (f), and the distributing handlers (608) distribute the normalized all-hazards information. Normalizing may include reducing the differences in the plurality of formats. Normalizing may include reducing the number of different formats. Normalizing may include normalizing the different formats to a standard format.

FIG. 9 illustrates an information exchange (600), including one or more receiving handlers (604), one or more content extractors (900) connected to the receiving handlers (604), and one or more distributing handlers (608) and connected to the content extractors (900). The receiving handlers (604) receive all-hazards information that includes all-hazards content (ah) and non-all-hazards content (non). The content extractors (900) extract a payload of all-hazards content (ah) from the all-hazards information. The distributing handlers (604) distribute the payload of all-hazards content. Extracting may include separating the all-hazards content (ah) from non-all-hazards content (non) and disposing of the non-all-hazards content (non). Optionally, the content extractors (900) may assign a feed to the payload of all-hazards content.

FIG. 10 illustrates an information exchange (600), including one or more receiving handlers (604), one or more feed parsers (1000) connected to the receiving handlers (604), and one or more distributing handlers (608) connected to the feed parsers (1000). The receiving handlers (604) may receive all-hazards information (ahi,2) that includes a plurality of distinct pieces of all-hazards information (ah1+ah2). The feed parsers (1000) parse the received all-hazards information into pieces of all-hazards information (ah1+ah2). The distributing handlers (608) distribute one or more of the pieces of parsed all-hazards information. Parsing may include identifying all-hazards information pieces (ah1+ah2) in the received all-hazards information (ah1,2) and separating the received all-hazards information (ah1,2) into pieces of all-hazards information (ah1+ah2).

Feed parsers include Really Simple Syndication (RSS), Common Alerting Protocol (CAP), plain text messages, NIEM, general purpose, custom XML, and other formats as may be preferred from the circumstances.

FIG. 11 illustrates an information exchange (600), including one or more receiving handlers (604), one or more content enhancers (1100) connected to the receiving handlers (604), and one or more distributing handlers (608) connected to the content enhancers (1100). The receiving handlers (604) receive all-hazards information (ah), content enhancers (1100) may enhance (ah+) the content of the received all-hazards information, and the distributing handlers (608) distribute the enhanced all-hazards information (ah+). The content enhancers may expand abbreviations of the received all-hazards information, may translate the received all-hazards information, and may attach timestamps to the received all-hazards information. The content enhancers may add audio and visual information to a received text-based all-hazards information. The content enhancers may geolocate affected areas of the received all-hazards information and add visual displays of the affected areas to the distributed all-hazards information. The content enhancers may identify the locations of nearby facilities. The content enhancers may find alternative routes around heavy traffic areas.

FIG. 12 illustrates an information exchange (600). The information exchange (600) may include: one or more receiving handlers (604); at least one of a normalizing unit, a content extractor, a feed parser and a content enhancer (not shown) connected to the receiving handlers (604); one or more databases (1200) connected to the at least one normalizing unit, content extractor, feed parser and content enhancer; and one or more distributing handlers (608) connected to the databases (1200). The receiving handlers (604) receive all-hazards information. The normalizing unit normalizes the received all-hazards information. The content extractor filters the received all-hazards information. The feed parser parses the received all-hazards information. The content enhancer enhances the content of the received all-hazards information. The database (1200) enters into storage the all-hazards information processed by the at least one normalizing unit, content extractor, feed parser and content enhancer. The distributing handlers (608) distribute the stored all-hazards information.

FIG. 13 illustrates an information exchange (600), including one or more receiving handlers (604), one or more databases (1200) connected to the receiving handlers (604), one or more controllers (1300) connected to the databases (1200), and one or more distributing handlers (608) connected to the controllers (1300).The receiving handlers (604) receive all-hazards information, the databases (1200) enter the received all-hazards information into storage, the controllers (1300) analyze the stored all-hazards information and initiate all-hazards messages from the stored all-hazards information, and the distributing handlers (608) distribute the initiated all-hazards messages. The controllers (1300) may analyze across multiple entries of the stored all-hazards information (aha, ahb) and initiate all-hazards messages from the multiple entries of all-hazards information.

The controllers may employ data mining and trend analysis in the analysis across multiple entries of the stored all-hazards information, such as determining the size of a fire based on the number of smoke detectors reporting the fire or the number of 911 calls received or such as detecting preparation for a coordinated terrorist attack based on multiple reports on suspicious activities on bridges.

FIG. 14 illustrates an information exchange (600), including one or more receiving handlers (604), one or more processing units (606) connected to the receiving handlers, and one or more distributing handlers (608) connected to the processing units. The receiving handlers (604) receive all-hazards information, the processing units (606) process the received all-hazards information, and the distributing handlers (608) distribute the processed all-hazards information in a plurality of different formats (f1, f2) to a plurality of information receivers (1400). The formatted all-hazards information may have a plurality of different formats with substantially the same all-hazards content. The plurality of different formats may correspond to different format requirements of the plurality of information receivers (1400). The distributing handlers (608) push the all-hazards information in a protocol and format selected by the information receivers (1400).

FIG. 15 illustrates an information exchange (600), including one or more receiving handlers (604), one or more controllers (1300) connected to the receiving handlers (604), one or more message dispatchers (1500) connected to the controllers (1300), and one or more distributing handlers (608) connected to the message dispatchers (1500). The receiving handlers receives all-hazards information. The controllers (1300) analyzes the received all-hazards information and initiates an all-hazards message from the analyzed all-hazards information. The message dispatchers (1500) identify information receivers (1400) subscribed to receive the initiated all-hazards message. The message dispatchers (1500) identifies information receivers (1400) in an affected area of the initiated all-hazards message. The distributing handlers (608) distributes the initiated all-hazards message to the identified information receivers.

Furthermore, the information exchange of FIG. 15 may include one or more subscription managers (1502) connected to the message dispatchers and one or more subscription management API (1504) connected to the one or more subscription managers. The subscription managers (1502) maintain subscription parameters for information receivers and communicate the subscription parameters to the message dispatchers (1500). The subscription parameters may include a content requirement of a subscriber or group of subscribers in order for an all-hazards message to be distributed to them. The subscription management API (1504) accepts subscription parameters from information receivers (1400) and communicates the subscription parameters to the subscription managers (1502). The receiving handlers (603) receive all-hazards information. The controllers (1300) analyze the received all-hazards information and initiate an all-hazards message from the analyzed all-hazards information. The message dispatchers (1502) identify information receivers (1400) subscribed to receive the initiated all-hazards message according to the subscription parameters. The distributing handlers (608) distribute the initiated all-hazards message to the identified information receivers.

The subscription API (1504) may include a web-interface or web service for adding or modifying subscriptions.

FIG. 16 illustrates an information exchange (600), including one or more receiving handlers (604), one or more processing units (606) connected to the receiving handlers, and one or more distributing handlers (608) connected to the processing units. Furthermore, the information exchange (600) include one or more response handlers (1600) and one or more response dispatchers (1602) connected to the one or more response handlers. The receiving handlers receive all-hazards information from one or more information sources, the processing units process the received all-hazards information, and the distributing handlers distribute the processed all-hazards information to one or more information receivers. The response handlers receive a response to the distributed all-hazards information and the response dispatcher delivers the response to a provider of the information source.

Furthermore, the response handlers may identify an all-hazards message corresponding to the response. The response handlers identify the information source or provider of the information source corresponding to the all-hazards message. The response handlers route the response to the information source or provider of the information source corresponding to the all-hazards message. Also, the response handlers may identify the source of the response and the location of the responder and report the source and location to the information source or provider of the information source corresponding to the all-hazards message. The response may confirm the original message and provide additional relevant information to the information source or provider of the information source corresponding to the all-hazards message. Additionally, the response may be added to the database for further analysis and may result in initiated all-hazards messages.

FIG. 17 illustrates an information exchange (600). The information exchange includes one or more push handlers (700) and one or more poller daemons (702). The push handlers (700) receive pushed all-hazards information from one or more information sources (602) and the poller daemons (702) retrieve polled all-hazards information from one or more information sources (602).

The information exchange (600) includes one or more information source managers (704) connected to the poller daemons and one or more information source application programming interfaces (API) (706) connected to the information source managers. The information source managers maintain polling parameters specific to each information source, and the information source API may accept polling parameters from providers of the information sources and communicate the polling parameters to the information source managers. The information source managers may communicate the polling parameters to the poller daemons and store the polling parameters in a database.

Also, the information source managers may report status of information received from information sources. For example, the information source managers report to the information sources or providers of the information sources whether and when information received from the information sources were distributed. The information source managers report who received the distributed information to the information sources or providers of the information sources. The information source managers may access the status by communicating with a database (1200) storing the status.

Additionally, the information source managers may maintain privacy preferences of the information sources. For example, the information source managers maintain whether a particular information source is publishable, authorized-only or approved-only. The privacy preferences may be stored in a database (1200).

The information exchange includes one or more content extractors (900) connected to the push handlers and to the poller daemons. The content extractors receive all-hazards information from the push handlers and the poller daemons and extract a payload of all-hazards content from the all-hazards information.

The information exchange includes one or more feed parsers (1000) connected to the content extractors. The feed parsers parse the payload of all-hazards content into pieces of all-hazards content.

The information exchange includes one or more content enhancers (1100) connected to the feed parsers. The content enhancers enhance the content of the pieces of all-hazards information.

Furthermore, the information exchange includes processing units for normalizing the all-hazards information. The normalizing function may be a separate processing unit or may be a function of another element of the information exchange. For example, the feed parsers may normalize the all-hazards information.

Furthermore, the information exchange may eliminate duplication of all-hazards information. The information exchange may identify and eliminate substantially exact duplicates of all-hazards information. The information exchange may identify closely-related all-hazards information and eliminate closely-related all-hazards information, or the information exchange may identify closely related all-hazards information and combine the closely-related all-hazards information.

The information exchange includes one or more controllers (1300) connected to the content enhancers and one or more databases (1200) connected to the controllers. The controllers analyze the pieces of all-hazards information and initiate all-hazards messages from the analyzed all-hazards information. The databases enter the pieces of all-hazards information into storage. Furthermore, the controllers may analyze across multiple entries of the stored all-hazards information and initiate all-hazards messages from the multiple entries of all-hazards information.

The information exchange includes one or more message dispatchers (1500) connected to the controllers, and one or more distributing handlers (608) connected to the message dispatchers. The message dispatchers identifies information receivers subscribed to receive the initiated all-hazards messages. The message dispatchers receives filtering parameters of information receivers. For example, the filtering parameters may include that the information receiver only receives messages at desired times or only with desired keywords. The distributing handlers distribute the initiated all-hazards messages to the identified information receivers.

The information exchange include one or more subscription managers (1502) connected to the message dispatchers and one or more subscription management API (1504) connected to the one or more subscription managers. The subscription managers maintain subscription parameters for information receivers and communicate the subscription parameters to the message dispatchers. The subscription management API accepts subscription parameters from information receivers and communicates the subscription parameters to the subscription managers. The subscription parameters may include whether particular information receivers are subscribed to receive a particular all-hazards message. Also, the subscription parameters may include filtering parameters. The subscription managers may store the subscription parameters in databases (1200).

Also, the information exchange may identify status of information received from information sources. For example, the controllers or message dispatchers may identify whether and when information received from particular information sources was distributed. The subscription managers may identify who received the information from the particular information sources. The status of the information received from information sources may be stored in a database, which may then be accessed by information source managers.

Additionally, the subscription managers may identify privacy preferences of the information sources. The privacy preferences may be accessed from a database. For example, the subscription managers may identify whether particular information sources are publishable, authorized-only or approved-only. Further, the subscription managers may identify whether the particular subscribers are approved for the particular information sources.

The information exchange includes one or more response handlers (1600) and one or more response dispatchers (1602) connected to the one or more response handlers. The response handlers receive responses to the distributed all-hazards messages, identify the all-hazards message that corresponds to the response, and identify the information source or provider that corresponds to the all-hazards message. The response handler may communication with the subscription manager to identify the information source or provider that corresponds to the all-hazards message, and the response dispatcher deliver the responses to the corresponding information source provider.

The information exchange may include an admin GUI. The admin GUI may be a web-based interface for changing setup parameters of the controller, for approving information sources and for modifying filters. Another method for changing setup parameters of the controller, for approving information sources and for modifying filters is through a GUI of the information receiver that then communicates with the subscription API of the information exchange.

The information exchange may include a response API for communicating responses from outside the information exchange to the information sources or information source providers.

FIG. 18 illustrates a method of maintaining privacy of distributed information. The method may include receiving a determination that an information source is publishable (Dpu), receiving a determination that another information source is authorized-only (Dau), and receiving a determination that yet another information source is approved-only (Dap). The determination may be received from the providers of the information sources. The authorized-only and approved-only information sources may be non-publishable.

The method of FIG. 18 may include offering a subscription to the publishable information source (Opu) to a potential subscriber, receiving a request for subscription to the publishable information source (Rpu) from a potential subscriber, and accepting the request for subscription to the publishable information source (ACCpu).

The method of FIG. 18 may include receiving authorization evidence from a potential subscriber to the authorized-only information source (Eau), offering the authorized potential subscriber a subscription to the authorized-only information source (Oau), receiving a request for subscription to the authorized-only information source (Rau) from the potential subscriber, and accepting the request for subscription of the authorized potential subscriber to the authorized-only information source (ACCau). The authorization evidence may include an authorization code. The authorization code may be an alphanumeric authorization code. 9

The method of FIG. 18 may include offering a potential subscriber a subscription to the approved-only information source (Oap), receiving a request for subscription to the approved-only information source (Rap) from a potential subscriber, transmitting to a provider of the approved-only information source the request for subscription to the approved-only information source (Tap), receiving an approval of the request of the potential subscriber to the approved-only information source (APP) from a provider of the approved-only information source, and accepting the approved request for subscription to the approved-only information source (ACCap). The request for subscription to the approved-only information source may include identification information of the potential subscriber. The request for subscription to the approved-only information source may be an application sent through an information exchange (IX) to the provider of the information source.

Additionally, the method of maintaining privacy of distributed information may include an embodiment wherein the authorized-only information also requires approval. The embodiment (not illustrated) may include receiving a request for subscription to the authorized-only information source from a potential subscriber, transmitting to a provider of the authorized-only information source the request for subscription to the authorized-only information source, receiving an approval of the request of the potential subscriber to the authorized-only information source from a provider of the authorized-only information source, and accepting the approved request for subscription to the authorized-only information source. The request for subscription to the authorized-only information source may include identification information of the potential subscriber.

The method of maintaining privacy of distributed information may include a feed selector tree. The publishable and approved-only information sources may appear as feeds in the feed selector trees. The authorized-only information source may not be visible in the feed selector tree prior to receipt of authorization evidence. The authorized-only information source may appear as a feed in the feed selector tree after authorization is complete.

The method FIG. 18 may include receiving all-hazards information into an information exchange from the publishable information source (RAHpu), receiving all-hazards information into the information exchange from the authorized-only information source (RAHau), and receiving all-hazards information into the information exchange from the approved-only information source (RAHap).

The method FIG. 18 may include distributing the publishable all-hazards information to the accepted subscriber to the publishable information source (DAHpu), distributing the authorized-only all-hazards information to the accepted subscriber to the authorized-only information source (DAHau), and distributing the approved-only all-hazards information to the accepted subscriber to the approved-only information source (DAHap).

The method of maintaining privacy of distributed information may include a feed selector tree.

It will be apparent to those skilled in the art that various modifications and variations can be made in the present invention without departing from the spirit or scope of the invention. Thus, it is intended that the present invention cover the modifications and variations of this invention provided they come within the scope of the appended claims and their equivalents.