MetaCartas GTS Tool Links Information, Geography

MetaCarta Inc.'s geographic text search appliance attempts to link knowledge management with geographic information systems.

MetaCarta Inc.s geographic text search appliance is an interesting product that attempts to link knowledge management with geographic information systems.

Funded by In-Q-Tel, the venture-funding arm of the CIA, MetaCartas solutions are being used to aid in homeland security, but this technology could also be extremely useful in the private sector.

Putting it simply, the GTS appliance is a text-search tool that allows users to link information to geography. The target market for GTS is primarily research analysts looking to find common geographic themes within documents.

GTS is not a simple plug-and-play tool—exploiting it will require a fair amount of imagination and ingenuity.

A product demonstration showed that GTS has great potential, but, like many knowledge management products, it will take work to integrate it into IT infrastructures.

GTS scans documents and extracts geographical references, either structured or in natural language, with the most common references being addresses or names of cities and countries. The appliance can communicate with data sources using a variety of protocols, including Simple Object Access Protocol, HTTP, Network File System and Network News Transport Protocol.

Using these protocols, GTS can easily access data from multiple data sources, including file servers, databases and the Web. E-mail servers, for now, are not potential data sources, but MetaCarta officials said they will be adding this support as the product evolves.

In addition, as with knowledge management solutions, GTS power is directly related to the data that is fed into it. As users find new ways to leverage the appliance and as more data is input, MetaCartas technology could find its way into many markets outside the government.

The GTS appliance can scale up to 15 million documents; prices start at about $30,000.