Here's a company that does a geographical text search

Here's a company that does a geographical text search and displays the results on an interactive map: Metacartography. I hadn't heard of them before, but they sound like a recent startup. As usual with these things the people involved have little or no formal cartographic/GIS training, but rather stumbled upon geographic visualization. Here's the blurb about the founder:

John founded MetaCarta in 1999 while beginning work on his Ph.D. in physics as a Hertz Fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. While studying the microclimates of forests, John encountered a need for a new way to view collections of documents: geographically.
Well, geography isn't exactly new, but whatever. Here's what they do--their software "ingests" a ton of different kinds of documents (including web pages and Word docs) and finds all the geographic references (explicit and somehow implied) and then tags them with a locational reference. These can then be produced on an interactive map. So presumably (I haven't played with it) if you type your city name in or perhaps even your street name you could find all the documents that refer to it; maybe even an obscure planning permission from the basement of city hall).

This is another step toward the vision in Mapping Hacks:
Imagine a world in which we can move about physical places, accessing not only what is stored in our brains but also multiple layers of information that have previously been inaccessible: experiences of friends, colleagues and complete strangers in the same space; information about who lives and works in the place...perhaps their political affiliations; crime statistics, the history of community events...This is precisely the physical landscape we will likely inhabit in 10 years"

"The physical landscape we move in will become "deep" with vast amounts of digital information--in text, images, and other sensory forms"

Mapping Hacks, Schuyler Erle, p. xxii, 2005.

Erle will be Guest of Honor at this year's NACIS conference, October 2006.

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