From large Government departments through to small local realty companies, geographic information can be extremely valuable to organizations. However, this useful information often ends up trapped in files or databases, inaccessible to the average employee or user. Many organizations make use of a geospatial tool that presents information in a geographical context.

Behind the scenes, it can be an expensive process to get to this stage because the data needs to be found and “geocoded.” Geocoding is the process of examining a piece of information containing geographic references and adding information about the map coordinates within the document. Once geocoded, a piece of data is available to be shown in a geospatial tool. To put it simply, it is the connection made between address information and map coordinates. This is often a manual process which can be expensive and time consuming.

For us, automating the search and geocoding process was the next logical step, so we developed a tool called GeoFind, which enables an end-user to easily find geospatially relevant data and show it on a map. GeoFind offers an on-the-fly geocoder combined with the Google Search Appliance (GSA) to locate and present information through Google Earth or Maps. The GSA can connect to multiple large document stores and securely crawl all of the content. GeoFind uses the GSA to process a search query and sends the results to the geocoding engine to look for geographic clues, such as addresses, city references, or landmarks. After it identifies the clue, GeoFind displays the search results via the Google Earth Globe or to Google Maps.

This is all done automatically without an administrator having to do manual data processing. For example: Imagine a police department wanting to make police reports accessible to the public on a map. The traditional approach would be to individually read and geocode the reports. Using GeoFind, it isn’t necessary to perform this expensive and time consuming data preparation. Instead, they can point their Google Search Appliance at the reports and have them immediately displayed on the map.

You can find out more about GeoFind at or contact me.