Mapping the News with MetaCarta

Tired of scanning newspapers, websites, and RSS aggregators for relevant news? Try finding it on a map instead.

The new GeoSearch News service, officially launched Monday by Cambridge, MA-based Metacarta, displays news stories in the form of little red icons on a world map. If you’re curious about what’s going on today in, say, Bremen, Germany, just click on the icon for that city, and an information balloon will pop up listing newswire stories mentioning that city.

The seven-year-old startup’s main business is making geotagging software that corporations, intelligence agencies, and other organizations use to sift through Web content and other documents for words that could be place names, estimates how likely it is that the author was referring to a specific geographical location, and marks up the document with a latitude and longitude. GeoSearch News basically takes Web stories from MetaCarta publishing partners, runs them through Metacarta’s geotagger, and places them on a Google map.

MetaCarta says GeoSearch News includes feeds from 1,400 local, national, and international news sources, including Reuters and the Associated Press. The company is pitching it as a way for news junkies to take in stories from a range of locations without having to visit numerous newspaper websites, or for real estate buyers or travelers to learn more about local goings-on in faraway places where they’re considering an investment or a visit.

“GeoSearch News is an entirely new way for people to find news on the web,” said Rick Hutton, Metacarta’s vice president of content services, in a company announcement about the service. “It combines the unique power of geographic search with keyword search and is the single place to find current news stories, from a wide variety of sources, about any place, quickly.”

Wade Roush is a freelance science and technology journalist and the producer and host of the podcast Soonish. Follow @soonishpodcast

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