Air Force acquires geographic search tool

The Air Force Office of Special Investigations has recently purchased a tool developed by MetaCarta Inc. of Cambridge, Mass., that organizes and presents geographic information on suspected and potential terrorists.

The office plans to integrate MetaCarta's Geographic Text Search tool with its Threat and Local Observation Notice system to show a geospatial picture to analysts of potential or suspected terrorist activities, according to a company release. TALON is a program that encourages Air Force officials and citizens to report possible terrorist planning activities they observe.

GTS uses natural-language processing to find references to geographic locations within documents, whether the references are explicit or implied, according to the MetaCarta release.

The system 'marks documents with appropriate latitude and longitude coordinates, and then enables a search for market documents through a graphical user interface,' the company said. Users search for documents using geographic locations and keywords. Links to the full documents appear as icons.

Using the $500,000 GTS tool eliminates the need for field agents to determine and document specific latitude and longitude coordinates, the company said.

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