The CAP data structure is backward-compatible with existing alert formats including the Specific Area Message Encoding (SAME) used in Weatheradio and the broadcast Emergency Alert System, while adding capabilities including :-
- Flexible geographic targeting using latitude/longitude “boxes” and other geo-spatial representations in three dimensions.
- Multilingual and multi-audience messaging.
- Phased and delayed effective times and expirations.
- Enhanced message update and cancellation features.
- Template support for framing complete and effective warning messages.
- Digital encryption and signature capability; and
- Facility for digital images, audio and video.