GCN INSIDER: trends and technologies that affect the way government does IT

Putting searches on a map

MetaCarta Inc. this month will release version 2.5 of its Geographic Text Search system, which can sift through and analyze millions of documents based on geography. Users, many of them in the intelligence community, employ the system to find information in large public or private repositories that includes references to specific places. Last fall, Arizona's Public Safety Department began using Meta-Carta as part of a homeland security pilot, and a MetaCarta official told GCN that the ink was drying on a pilot deal with the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency.

Randy Ridley, MetaCarta's vice president and general manager for federal systems, said that although 2.5 is an important upgrade, significant enhancements to the system are in the works for a future release. He wouldn't provide specifics, but Ridley called the software GTS Analyst and said it would automate many of the program's search and analysis functions, making it faster and easier for users to find pertinent information.

New BI tools look smart

For the past year, Business Objects Inc. of San Jose, Calif., which makes business intelligence tools, has been integrating its product line with Crystal Decisions reporting software. (Business Ojects ac- quired Crystal Decisions in 2003.)

Earlier this month, the company launched the first fully integrated suite, BusinessObjects XI. The company assured GCN it would sell the suite's components a la carte if necessary, for example if an agency needs only query and reporting tools.

Based on talks with Scott Dulman, Business Objects' director of government marketing, the new suite has significant potential, if for no other reason than the company designed it for services-oriented architectures, which could prove attractive for offering BI functions across agencies.

BusinessObjects XI also now includes 508-compliant features throughout the suite and tight integration with Microsoft Office applications. This last feature is important, Dulman said, because BI users want easy access to information and they want to be able to trust it. Pulling data directly into something like Word, while at the same time being able to understand the source of that data, could go a long way toward ensuring both. E-mail Brad Grimes at insider@postnewsweektech.com

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