With the ease of use of Google Maps, we take geodata for granted. Some history of the development of the underlying standards is edifying.
Imagine the power of turning locations in text documents into dots on a map. John Frank and Schuyler Erle from MetaCarta have been providing enterprise customers with that power for a number of years and are now ready to open up their georeference engine to the rest of the Internet. In this short and lively presentation from the 2006 O’Reilly Where 2.0 Conference, Frank and Erle discuss the development of their MetaCarta API and Trinity interface.
More geographic data is being created than ever before. In order to take advantage of this revolution, MetaCarta is allowing developers to geoparse plain text locations into mapped locations. MetaCarta has made an open source API available that makes this geoparsing possible in nearly any web application.
Erle, from the MetaCarta labs, presents a few possible applications of this technology. One such implementation allowed him to map all locations mentioned on the CNN homepage with varying degrees of emphasis. Another application let him visualize locations mentioned in texts available at Project Gutenberg, such as Thucydides’ History of the Peloponnesian War.