Geospatial search with MetaCarta, Google Trends

In case anybody still thinks Google’s forays into GIS constitute a dilution of its primary mission, here are two items:

  • Geographic intelligence provider MetaCarta announced today it is joining the Google Enterprise Professional program, in order to “integrate our technology with Google Earth Enterprise for use in the government, energy, and enterprise sectors.” Says Claudine Bianchi, MetaCarta’s VP of marketing:
    Companies and government agencies who use Google Earth can now extend the power of their searches using MetaCarta to view unstructured content such as content found in HTML pages, MS-Word, and email as search results on the Google Earth map interface.

    Here’s a slideshow with screenshots.

  • Ed Parsons notes how Google Trends makes available to us geospatial “attention data” — letting us find out where a given search term is the most popular (as a percentage of total searches). This undescores that while Google is “all about search,” search is often geospatial in nature. In fact, before the web, that was the only kind of search there was:-)

Both the MetaCarta announcement and Ed’s post, read in short succession, suggest a natural Google mashup and hence feature request: Why not output Google Trends’s geospatial attention data as KML? This should produce a much more natural representation of the data. The KML could show relative popularity either via an overlay with color opacity, or else by some kind of 3D bar graph centered on each location.

Finally, here too a timeline would be handy — it would be interesting to see, for example, in which regions new memes are searched for first, or the regional reach of a marketing campaign over time.