OPML to the Rescue

I love Google Reader, but it’s definitely still in beta.

Two months ago during an information overload crisis I unsubscribed from a couple of USGS RSS/CAP hazards alerts feeds. Today, when I wanted to resubscribe to those feeds I discovered a problem. In the intervening time I’ve largely switched from Bloglines to Google Reader as my primary RSS aggregator. It appears that Google Reader is not capable of auto-discovering (and therefore subscribing to) USGS Common Alerting Protocol (CAP) feeds. Google Reader has no problem with USGS RSS feeds. I was able to work around this problem using Bloglines to auto-discover and subscribe to the CAP feeds, then I was able to export these feeds as an OPML file and import them into Google Reader. I don’t know how standards-compliant the CAP format is, but since Bloglines appears to deal with it with no problems and Google Reader reads the feeds (once subscribed) just fine, I suspect that the failure to auto-discover these feeds is a bug in Google Reader. I have contacted both Google and the USGS about this – hopefully it can be fixed quickly. I’ve also urged the USGS to offer their feeds in an OPML format and to add Google Reader to the list of aggregators on that page (with proper instructions), seeing as it is being adopted as the aggregator of choice by a rapidly growing number of people.

For anyone who’s interested, here are the three USGS CAP feeds I’m subscribing to (M>5 quakes, landslides, and volcano alerts feeds) as an OPML file: USGS_Geol_Hazards_Alerts.opml

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