Brian Goldin, CEOIn June, 2008, Brian Goldin and Ryan McKinley saw and decided to address the market need for a geospatial search tool. The objective was to develop an innovative solution that would enhance the manner in which organizations could find and manage their geospatial data. Within a few months, the open source software engineer and geospatial specialist had a working model of what became Voyager Search.
Voyager provides an easy-to-use, out-of-the-box search solution that can support a wide variety of users around the globe. It is open and scalable, comes with advanced security and also can index a wide variety of content. Instead of requiring centralized data storage, Voyager offers a centralized search experience while leaving the data untouched in its original location. It contains connectors to bring content into the best-of-breed, open-source search engine—Apache Lucene/Solr—giving organizations an easy-to-use, web-based interface for discovering their content. The solution offers the tools for delivering documents and web services to the users.
Further, the search solution can be incorporated into existing systems without adverse impact on current workflows and does not require mass migration of content to a centralized repository to work. Instead, it provides a single search experience across all of the various content stores. It all starts by creating a catalog or index of the contents of any repository—file servers, databases, or to service-based sources. “Our vast connector framework allows us to read the content with little impact on the storage device,” explains Brian Goldin, CEO of Voyager Search. “The tool is like a librarian who builds a card catalog from a warehouse of books.”
Once the catalog is created, Voyager’s entity extractors come into play and pulls out all the text, metadata and properties. If the client has images, the entity extractor will extract the header information and glean its location as well. Voyager then proceeds to the pipeline, which transforms the data as it is indexed.
Our vast connector framework allows us to read the content with little impact on the storage device
It creates thumbnails for content and can also take documents that do not have any type of location information, like a Microsoft Word report with place names, and geotag those documents so they can be found by location.
Voyager’s web user interface allows users to access the search engine. Users can find what they need using spatial search, keyword search, as well as filtering and sorting tools common in most web search experiences. Voyager helps to find patterns in the data to make discovery easier. Once users find what they need, Voyager assists users to share information within organization by tagging it. Then users can have that content delivered to them. “We can run ETL (Extract, Transform, Load) technology on top of the data to deliver the content to customers,” adds Goldin.
Today, Voyager has reached a wider audience, evolving from a search engine for geospatial data to one that can read office documents, PDF files, and more. “We started expanding the kit that we had for indexing to support some 2,000 different types of content—much of it non-spatial,” asserts Goldin. “Our business has evolved into enterprise search, so we are working with the entire universe of spatial and non-spatial documents.” Voyager is now one of the pioneers in the search industry that is a GIS-enabled, enterprise search engine.
For the days to come, Voyager will continue to enhance its solution and generate meaning from unstructured data with or without geospatial information. Giving users the capability to search, analyze and visualize the content and to make sense to the data, Voyager will deliver on the promise of connecting different dots together.