MetaCarta Moves into Digital Publishing with GeoSearch News
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MetaCarta Moves into Digital Publishing with GeoSearch News



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Industry News
MetaCarta Moves into Digital Publishing with GeoSearch News
by Susan Smith

GeoSearch News is a new geographic search engine announced by MetaCarta, Inc., that displays current news on a map. GeoSearch News indexes more than 1,400 news sources from around the world and locally every hour in addition to direct feeds from the Associated Press and Reuters. Users can access a single site where they can find out what is happening at that moment in any geographic location in the world.

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This is MetaCarta’s first foray into digital publishing, yet they are experiencing strong growth in that area with customers such as YourStreet, Fox Interactive Media, and Boston.com. The market runs the gamut from an online media outlet like Boston.com to proprietary services such as Factiva or Thomsen. Until recently, MetaCarta has been known for its products in the government public sector community, particularly in the area of intelligence and military strategic planning and energy customers such as Chevron and Shell. The company has grown to approximately 70 employees with 50 customers including new customers in the digital publishing arena.

Rick Hutton, vice president of content services for MetaCarta, said MetaCarta expects a lot of growth in the energy sector.

Aimed at the consumer market, GeoSearch News “will help the publisher make their unstructured content actionable from the geographic standpoint,” Hutton explained. “The big problem has been publishers who have lots of unstructured content have not been able to get the geography to be actionable or usable without having people go through it manually or without applying keyword basic type engines that would do feature extraction and find the place names that are most common to anyone as general expressions. What our technology allows you to do is have a computer read through text more like a human would, in that it recognizes more geographic references than any other technology out there. It is then able to disambiguate those references, relate them to the context of the remainder of the document that that reference is taken from, then relate each geographic reference to a specific latitude and longitude. Again, we unlock the rich geographic references in that content.”

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Once that has been accomplished the publisher can do the following:

1) Dynamic mapping – with GeoSearch News it is very easy to take the geographic references and plot them on a map in real time. An example of that is the application service MetaCarta provides to Reuters.com. “We’re processing Reuters International news stories as they become available on a minute to minute basis,” said Hutton. “When someone goes to one of their appropriate pages and it has one of our news map services on there, they get a map that dynamically presents the stories from the last 24 hours. And in one minute you’ll see the latest story that just came in.”

2) Location focused alerts applications, or “local alerts” – MetaCarta has implemented this application with a couple of newspaper sites. It allows the publisher to have a service for users who want an update when there are stories about a particular region, city or neighborhood. They want to know when stories are published about their neighborhood, for example. You can identify the neighborhood either by typing in a placename or by focusing the map on a specific neighborhood. “The nice thing is it filters out the stories that the user doesn’t care about, such as headlines, news updates, that then don’t go into your inbox. You just get an alert when there is a story pertinent to your area.”

This seems on the surface a lot like “Google Alerts,” however, the filtering capability is much more robust so that you are not receiving non-pertinent information mixed in with pertinent information.

3) Search applications – The search application of GeoSearch News is different from that of Google or Yahoo, in that it is exclusively geographically based. MetaCarta’s entity extractors and search tools combine technology and data, and identify geographic references in unstructured text using a natural language processing capability in sophisticated computational linguistics. “This allows the computer to see every expression,” said Hutton. “That could be a geographic reference based on a few words, and looking at words that precede it and follow it to see if it makes sense contextually. The computer pulls it out as a candidate before reading through the rest of the document.” For real estate or classified ads, or general news about an area, this can be enormously helpful to both individuals and business people.

According to the press release, with GeoSearch News, users can specify their place-of-interest by entering a place name in a text box or panning/zooming a map to a desired place or region. Users can refine their search by simply repositioning the map. Search results are presented in order of relevance as determined by a combination of keyword(s) and the specified geography.

4) Metadata driven – GeoSearch News uses metadata to drive dynamic content presentations. When a person comes to a website, they find a story about an area they want. “Instead of only presenting them with other stories about that category, such as a business news story, if they care about what’s going on in that area, we can also facilitate the presentation of dynamic content based on the geography,” said Hutton. “Geographic references can be very implicit. There could be a baseball park where kids play where someone was arrested for drugs. If someone wants to provide content based on where it is, since we plot it as an xy point on a map, we would get that content, even if the person didn’t mention a particular town.” Content assets can be reused.

“Once the system has a geographical reference we run it through our geographic data module (GDM), and it further disambiguates the geographic references and ultimately matches it up with a gazetteer of 10 million placenames so that we can nail it down to a specific lat long,” Hutton explained. The combination of GeoSearch News technology, with the data that looks at geographic areas from the standpoint of weather, crime, and other specific areas acquired from customers and business partners, refines the context for geographic and keyword search, generating alerts, current news and collaboration of geographically relevant information.

“One of the things the web has done is decentralize publishing and created an explosion of publishers,” noted Hutton. “You used to have to subscribe to the local papers if you wanted local information. Today you can find that information all over the place. What the web doesn’t do for you is filter the news.”

The ability of GeoSearch News to filter out what people aren’t interested in and filter in what people are interested in geographically is very powerful for Boston.com or other news organizations. A company like Factiva is aggregating loads of content publishers’ information, providing two things: content and tools. The tools are what allow the users to mine the content, according to Hutton.

MetaCarta remains “map agnostic,” and can plot geographic references in the news stories on a fully featured Google map. For those who are planning a trip, making a real estate purchase, or just looking for a broader perspective on a community or place on the planet, GeoSearch News could be a valuable tool.

Top News of the Week

Explorers, adventurers, vacationers, and others will now be able to hold in their hands the landscapes that captivate them thanks to a new company, LandPrint.com, which is offering 3D physical models of any landscape on the planet. Consumers visit www.LandPrint.com, select their favorite place -- e.g., a mountain, canyon, forest, river, volcano, waterfall or glacier -- and submit their order. These models are "3D-printed" in full color by Z Corporation of Burlington, Mass., USA, and shipped directly to the customer's door.

LandPrint.com gets its digital terrain data from NASA and the US Geological Survey, and will soon incorporate street, building and other data from additional third parties, making the site a powerful tool for professionals like architects, contractors and civil engineers.

The Carbon Project announces the latest update to CarbonTools PRO, a geospatial-interoperability toolkit for .NET developers. The release includes updated support to OGC specifications, primarily WFS 1.1.0 and GML, and improved support to Microsoft Virtual Earth and Yahoo! Maps. In addition, the latest release includes the full source code for some of the CarbonTools PRO libraries. The source code provides a reference point for developers and allows further enhancements and modifications by users.

The release includes source code for the Gaia 3.1 geospatial viewer, making it possible for developers to create and deploy advanced .NET applications in minutes. The Gaia 3.1 geospatial viewer application is available as a free download at http://www.thecarbonproject.com/gaia.php.

Pictometry International Corp., a provider of geo-referenced aerial image libraries whose patented and proprietary technology is used globally to capture oblique image libraries, expressed strong disappointment at the recent filing of an action by GEOSPAN Corp. against Pictometry claiming patent infringement.

Acquisitions/Agreements/Alliances

MapQuest, Inc. and Garmin International Inc., announced plans for the upcoming launch of a new feature that will allow consumers to send trip planning results from MapQuest.com directly to their Garmin personal navigation device. Through the partnership, users can find a place, as well as plan and research routes, at MapQuest.com, then send the locations directly to Garmin GPS units by utilizing the "Send to GPS" drop down option. Users will then be able to easily access previously sent location data from their Garmin device without needing to input information directly on the device.

NAVTEQ, global provider of digital map data for location-based solutions and vehicle navigation, announced from CTIA WIRELESS 2008 that uLocate Communications, Inc. will utilize NAVTEQ map data for applications running on the WHERE platform and Buddy Beacon products in the U.S. and Europe.

Announcements

Tele Atlas, a global provider of digital maps and dynamic content for navigation and location-based solutions, today announced the call for entries for the Tele Atlas Maps in Apps 2008 competition. Maps in Apps is part of the Tele Atlas LBS Innovators Series, an ongoing program held in conjunction with Tele Atlas DeveloperLink(SM) to help foster innovation and enable application developers to increase their visibility, credibility and success with key participants in the industry including investors, carriers and technology providers. Tele Atlas invites developers of both Web and mobile location-based applications to participate in the 2008 contest.
The 2008 contest entails:
-- WHO: Participation is open to all mobile and Web application developers
using Tele Atlas data in the U.S. and Canada.
-- WHAT: Up to three finalist applications will be showcased in the Tele
Atlas booth at CTIA Wireless I.T. & Entertainment 2008; visitors and
attendees will vote for their favorite application via SMS or paper
ballot. One grand prize winner will be awarded $25,000 in cash and
$50,000 in Tele Atlas map data; two runners up each will receive
$10,000 in cash and $20,000 in Tele Atlas map data.
-- WHEN: Applications are accepted through July 18, 2008
-- WHERE: To learn more about the Tele Atlas LBS Innovators Series,
including submission instructions for Maps in Apps 2008, and
information on Tele Atlas DeveloperLink, please visit
http://www.LBSseries.com.


NAVTEQ Corporation, provider of digital map data for vehicle navigation and location-based solutions, announced today that the European Commission has initiated a Phase II review of Nokia's pending acquisition of NAVTEQ. This is part of the Commission's review process and does not in any way signal the ultimate outcome.

The popular Real-Life series, CRIME 360 from A&E once again featured the Leica Geosystems ScanStation, a state-of-the-art forensic 3D laser scanner in its latest episode, ‘Deadly Secrets’ which aired March 20, 2008.

In this episode, detectives are called to a crime scene in a suburban neighborhood late one night. A young male was found shot outside of his grandmother’s house and left between the hedges and the porch. Visible evidence includes seven bullet casings strewn about the front yard.

To preserve the scene, detectives immediately look to laser scan the entire scene with the ScanStation thereby permanently recording the location of the body relative to the house, porch, shrubbery, and bullet casing in a 3D tableau. Fortunately, the long-range 3D laser scanning system operates equally well in both bright sunshine and the dark of night. During the initial crime scene investigation, the scanner's green laser was clearly visible sweeping over the victim and other evidence.

Pictometry International Corp., a provider of geo-referenced aerial image libraries whose patented technology is used globally to capture oblique image libraries, announces its third annual Pictometry FutureView 2008, taking place October 27-29, 2008 at the Marriott River Center in San Antonio, Texas. FutureView is the only user conference of its kind, focused exclusively on geo-referenced oblique aerial imaging technology.

Pictometry will announce the agenda for FutureView 2008 later this Spring. For more on FutureView, visit the website .

People

DMTI Spatial (DMTI), a provider of Location Intelligence, has announced the appointment of Ted Papotto to Senior Product Manager, Location Hub. Mr. Papotto joined DMTI Spatial in 2006 as a Senior Account Executive, responsible for software sales into the enterprise market.

New Products

HP announced two affordable, power-efficient HP ProLiant servers as well as the market's first Quad-Core AMD Opteron processor-based x86 platforms.

In addition, the company is offering an expanded customer relationship management (CRM) portfolio, Linux-based management tools and remote access technology.

All of the products and solutions are designed to help small to midsize businesses reduce costs, improve security and better manage customer relationships.

Information Builders, the independent leader in production business intelligence( BI) systems, today announced the release of WebFOCUS for Google Maps, the first rapid mashup application in the business intelligence market. WebFOCUS for Google Maps provides an intuitive graphical user interface (GUI) for rapid development of geographically aware composite applications and does not require any training or coding by developers.

LizardTech, a division of Celartem, Inc., and a provider of software solutions for managing and distributing digital content, has updated its Educational Licensing program to include the latest versions of GeoExpress for compression and manipulation and Express Server for high-performance delivery and publication software. Students and faculty of higher education institutions now have the opportunity to use LizardTech's latest geospatial technology in a research/teaching environment.

The first LizardTech Educational License bundle includes three GeoExpress 7 floating licenses with a 3TB networked data cartridge and Express Server 6 with unlimited concurrent access licenses. With this bundle, the first year of support/maintenance is required at $1,999. For years two and further, the annual support/maintenance fee will be $1,999/year.

Dell customers can now get a Blu-ray laptop for under a $1,000. Available today on dell.com, movie buffs can pick up the Inspiron 1525 with optional Blu-ray disc playback starting at $879.

As retailers and video rental companies expand their high-definition offerings, Blu-ray is the new "must-have" technology to help get the most out of your viewing experience.

The award-winning Inspiron 1525 laptop features a 15.4-inch high definition wide aspect display with 720p resolution. It also includes an HDMI port for easy connectivity to high resolution displays and HDTVs.

TeleCommunication Systems, Inc., provider of mission-critical wireless communications and content, announced the availability of the Xypoint Mapping Server release 5.3 with new features that improve application developers' ability to rapidly build and deploy location-based services.

The Xypoint Mapping Server has been widely used and enhanced for more than a decade. Customers use it for sophisticated applications including roadside service, directory assistance, vehicle tracking, and telematics. Supporting Web, mobile and connected navigation applications, release 5.3 provides a technology platform for applications to request and receive location, routing and point-of-interest information, as well as to generate tiled maps.

Garmin International Inc., a unit of Garmin Ltd., announced that users can now send locations found on Google Maps(TM), an innovative online mapping service, directly to their Garmin personal navigation device.

First American Proxix Solutions, a member of The First American Corporation family of companies and a leading provider of geospatial technology, data and software, today announced the addition of risk concentration as an option in its CATUM automated insurance suite.

One of the challenges facing property and casualty companies is the ability to accurately identify a concentration of policy risk within a geographic area. Traditionally, property and casualty companies have attempted to measure risk concentration by counting the number of policies in a defined geographic region, such as counties, cities or ZIP codes. However, this method does not identify whether policies are clustered or dispersed within a given geographic region.

Telogis announced the release of OnTrack 6, the most reliable and easy-to-use Software as a Service (SaaS) GPS Tracking Application on the market. Telogis' real-time GPS Fleet Tracking solution drives rapid return on investment for businesses of all sizes through improvement of productivity and enhancement of their operations. New features in this release include a Web 2.0 aesthetic makeover, advanced PDF and Excel reporting, updated GeoStream maps, and the integration of Live Messaging.

Nuance Communications, Inc. ,provider of speech and imaging solutions, today announced that TeleNav, Inc. has selected Nuance Mobile to speech-enable its mobile device-based navigation service.

Using the Nuance Mobile Speech Platform on select devices, TeleNav now provides the ability to enter destinations for driving directions and business category searches by voice, so that subscribers no longer need to use a telephone keypad. Users can simply state the destination address, or select from a database of more than 10 million points of interest by stating a category, such as "pharmacy," or by stating a specific business name, such as "Walgreens."

Around the Web

Summer Institute of the The Vespucci Initiative for the Advancement of Geographic Information Science Wireless Sensor Networks Blog

Upcoming Events

Map Middle East 2008
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Map Middle East 2008, the Fourth Annual Middle East Conference on Geospatial Information, Technology & Applications will provide a platform to showcase the innovative applications of the Geospatial domain.
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Join other Southeastern Regional GIS users April 14-16, 2008 to discuss challenges and solutions that are unique to your area. Learn from your colleagues about successful GIS applications in many business and government agencies that can provide new ideas and inspiration.
AAG 2008 Annual Meeting
Date: April 15 - 19, 2008
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The Annual Meeting of the Association of American Geographers attracts geographers and related professionals from around the world. Our meeting forum stimulates discussion about research, education, accomplishments, and developments in geography.
Disaster Management 2008
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Disaster Management 2008 would be a platform to attract exhibitors from all over the world and would not only provide an opportunity to tap huge markets, but at the same time allow them to personally interact with the big-wigs of the industry.
MAGIC 2008 Symposium
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GIS covers such a broad range of subjects, applications and types of people that use it, that developing a conference program that meets everyone’s needs is a challenging task. Even more challenging is an attendee trying to figure out exactly which sessions or topics will be most interesting and helpful. MAGIC 2008 is intended to focus the content of the presentation options into a program specifically geared to each attendee’s needs.
2008 Overwatch Users Group Conference
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We are pleased to announce the 2008 Overwatch Users Group Conference.  The conference will be held at the Westwood Country Club in Vienna, Virginia on April 21-24.  Each of our product development groups has been hard at work creating new features to help analysts and GIS users maximize their screen time.  If you use RemoteView, ELT/Series, Feature Analyst, LIDAR Analyst, Urban Analyst or InterSCOPE, you should come to the conference
14th Annual CalGIS Conference
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Delaware GIS 2008: A Spatial Network
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The annual Delaware GIS Conference provides an opportunity to exchange ideas, share knowledge, and network with other professionals in the region. Each year this conference draws more than 200 geospatial professionals from a wide array of backgrounds including decision-makers, managers, educators, and state and local government staff.
2008 ESRI Business GIS Summit
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The ESRI Business GIS Summit is the leading forum for collaboration and networking with other users of business-focused GIS solutions. Business professionals from banking, health care, insurance, logistics, manufacturing, media, real estate, retail, utilities, and related industries are encouraged to attend.
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ASPRS Annual Conference
Date: April 28 - May 2, 2008
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OR USA
Join ASPRS: The American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing, April 28 to May 2, 2008, in Portland, Oregon for the ASPRS 2008 Annual Conference. The conference theme "Bridging the Horizons - New Frontiers in Geospatial collaboration" will offer an outstanding program of general and technical sessions looking to the future of the geospatial industry.
IMAGIN Annual Conference 2008: Michigan’s Premiere
Date: May 4 - 7, 2008
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Improving Michigan’s Access to Geographic Information Networks (IMAGIN, Inc) in partnership with the Michigan Association of Planning, announces the 2008 May Annual Conference in Dearborn, Michigan. Share your expertise, enhance your professional development, and network with those leveraging geospatial applications and technologies with professionals across the Great Lake State and Region. This year’s conference will feature speakers and professional presentations featuring how GIS applications will strengthen our economic future. Additional topic areas will include server based applications, community planning/economic development, asset management, funding partnerships, real-estate valuation analysis, and an exhibitor presentations spotlighting the latest, innovative geospatial applications.
Substantial discounts for early Conference registration are available online along with exhibition and sponsorship opportunities at www.imagin.org/conference

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