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CAAML (Canadian Avalanche Association Markup Language) is a standard for the electronic representation of information pertinent to avalanche safety operations. By building on existing Internet standards, CAAML expresses avalanche related information in a manner that can easily be shared over the World Wide Web. CAAML builds on the following two existing standards:
The purpose of CAAML is to provide the definitions for the data file structure to support electronic exchange of avalanche related information. CAAML defines the structure and elements of observations types, specifies how locations are referenced, provides a mechanism for linking observations with each other and contains a method for associating external data files.
Several different CAAML versions have been published since its first use in the fall of 2003. The following list briefly describes the primary stages in the development of CAAML.
Current Structure (CAAML 4.2)
CAAML consists of a number of XML Schema files that define the structure of any CAAML instant files. CAAML 4.2, the most recent version of CAAML, consists of four different schema files that build on each other.
CAAML is under a royalty-free patent license, allowing anyone to implement it. Schema files of the various CAAML versions, example files and basic documentation can be accessed at http://avalancheinfo.net/caaml/schema/
CAAML has been used extensively by the Canadian Avalanche Association since it introduction in 2003. At the present time, CAAML Version 3.0.3 is used operationally in the InfoEx service, the Canadian Avalanche Information System (CAIS) and the SnoInfoPLUS software development initiative (formerly known as CADS). It is intended that current services will be updated during the summer of 2007 to fully run on CAAML 4.2.CAAML 4.2 is fully compliant with the latest version of the CAA’s Observation Guidelines and Recording Standards (OGRS 2007).
Scheduled Future Changes
No structural changes are scheduled for CAAML in the near future. Minor changes to CAAML 4.2 might be necessary as bugs are discovered during its implementation. While the majority of observation elements are stable, the avalanche involvement and snow profile modules are still in a developmental stage.
The original specifications for the CAAML schema version 1.0 were designed by the Data and Information Committee of the Canadian Avalanche Association, which included Jeff Goodrich (Parks Canada), Jan Bergstrom (Canadian Mountain Holidays), Mark Myhre (Canadian Mountain Holidays), Simon Walker (BC Ministry of Transportation), Evan Manners (Canadian Avalanche Centre) and Pascal Haegeli (University of British Columbia). External expert knowledge was provided by Graeme Irwin (
Feedback and Input
CAAML is an open source initiative by the CAA and as such we welcome any and all feedback on the structure, its utility and future development recommendations. Please forward all feedback and input to kmaloney at avalanche dot ca.
Schema files of the various CAAML versions, example files and basic documentation can be accessed at http://avalancheinfo.net/caaml/schema/ Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC): Open GIS ® Geography Markup Language (GML) Encoding Specifications. Available online at http://www.opengeospatial.org/standards/gml (April 7, 2007).
World Wide Web Consortium (W3C): XML Linking Language (XLink) Version 1.0. Available online at http://www.w3.org/TR/xlink/ (April 7, 2007).
Geography Markup Language (GML) – Foundation for the geo-web. ISBN 0-470-87154-7Geography Markup Language (GML) – Foundation for the geo-web.