NetOwl at SOFIC Conference, May 20-23

Geotagging, Homeland Security, Intelligence Analysis

NetOwl is attending the Special Operations Forces Industry Conference (SOFIC) this week from May 20 to 23 at the Tampa Convention Center in Tampa, Florida. We will be showing how our industry-leading NetOwl Extractor ( is being leveraged with ESRI, the leading GIS provider, to go beyond what’s possible with simple geospatial analysis of text content. We will be in the ESRI booth (#649). Hope to see you there!

How NetOwl Geo-enables Unstructured Data

Until now, GIS technology largely hasn’t been able to exploit the great amount of locational information that is found in unstructured data (which is anything from memos to email to text). NetOwl’s Smart Geotagging is a new text analytics technology that removes this roadblock:  it assigns absolute physical locations to place names.  Geotagging also handles more than place names.  It can calculate the absolute location from a relative location expressed in phrases like “50 miles northeast of Bagram.”

NetOwl’s Geotagging

From all types of open source or classified documents, NetOwl Extractor can automatically extract from any unstructured text:

  • Over 100 types of entities including the names of people, places, and organizations
  • Over 30 types of relationships that connect entities together
  • Over 100 events that entities may be involved in

While some tools are able to identify a variety of specific coordinate expressions such as “41 25 01N, 120 58 57W” or “48 N 377299 1483035” in unstructured text and use that information to associate “points on a map” to the document, NetOwl’s geotagging capabilities go well beyond simple coordinate extraction and normalization.  Some of the key entity types that can be geocoded with NetOwl include:

  • Various latitude/longitude and other coordinate expressions like MGRS and UTM. NetOwl normalizes all of these expressions to decimal latlongs.
  • Named place entities like countries, provinces, cities, and districts. Conceptually, this sounds simple, but when all you know is that something happened in the city of “Springfield,” with no explicit mention of which Springfield it is, NetOwl can disambiguate the correct location from other information present in the text.
  • Relative places. In some cases, the best information you can get about a location is a ballpark area like “10 km NW of Washington DC”.   NetOwl can identify such relative place entities and perform the coordinate math needed to normalize such a place entity to an absolute coordinate.

Beyond Place Names: Geotagging Events and Other Types of Entities

At the geospatial entity level, NetOwl provides for a rich geotagging capability that goes beyond any other unstructured text geotagging product.  By leveraging NetOwl’s advanced Link and Event Extraction capabilities, key entities and events, which by themselves are traditionally not geocodable, can now be connected to geocodable locations and presented on a map in their proper geospatial context.

Through various “relationships” that NetOwl can extract, the names of people, organizations, and other entities can be put on the map at their proper location.  For example,

  • A representation of a person can be put on the map at a location because the text indicates they reside there.
  • An organization can be put on a specific location on the map because the text talks about where the organization is headquartered.

Similarly, the locations of over 100 potential extractable event types can be used to place event-indicators on the map such as:

  • Locations where a meeting is taking place
  • Locations where a bomb went off or any other conflict-related event occurred
  • Locations where one or more people travelled to or from

By leveraging the semantic information NetOwl can extract from a collection of documents, along with its geotagging capabilities, geospatial applications can display a far richer geospatial view of the key information from those documents that go well beyond a “set of points” on a map.

The Power of ESRI + NetOwl

NetOwl has worked with ESRI to develop several integrations of NetOwl Extractor services and output into the ArcGIS platform.  The primary application allows ESRI end-users to submit collections of documents to NetOwl for processing by placing them in a specific folder. NetOwl then performs entity, relationship, and event extraction with geotagging, and the output is transformed into a feature layer displayable on any map.  The locations are marked on a map, and when selected, provide details not only about the mentions of the specific location, but also the other traditionally non-geospatial entities and events that are related to the selected place.

Accessible via a REST API, any accessible NetOwl service can be used by this ESRI geoprocessing tool to provide this text analysis and geotagging capability whether you have access to an on-premise NetOwl installation or SaaS-based access.

Visit our Booth

To learn more about our geotagging capabilities and to see it in action, stop by our booth (#649) at the SOFIC Conference!