Geographic Search Engine Finds Location-Specific Tweets, Media - InformationWeek
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Geographic Search Engine Finds Location-Specific Tweets, Media

Geofeedia finds geo-tagged messages, photos, and videos for journalism, surveillance, and location-based market intelligence.

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Post a smart phone photo of your family at Mount Rushmore, and there is a good chance that someone associated with the South Dakota Department of Tourism will see it--regardless of whether you add a caption or hashtag to identify the contents of the photo.

Lawrence & Schiller, a marketing and advertising firm with offices in Sioux Falls and Deadwood, S.D., that works with the tourism agency is an early user of Geofeedia, a social media search and monitoring tool that captures social posts according to their geographic coordinates. "It's a way for us to engage with users whom most of the time we wouldn't see, because they may not like our Facebook page or follow us on Twitter," said Carrie Burns, an associate account executive at L&S. Her firm uses's Radian6 as its primary social media monitoring tool, but Geofeedia has given her firm and its counterparts at the Department of Tourism a way of identifying people who might not be talking about South Dakota but they are in fact visiting it and posting photos of the state to share with their friends.

"We capture authentic sources at the site, at the location," said Phil Harris, CEO of Geofeedia. "The user has to legitimately be there," as reported by their smartphone's GPS tracking, he said. Smart phone users who post photos typically have that feature enabled, he said.

Although Foursquare popularized the notion of the geographic check-in, many other social media services now offer the option to include your coordinates when you post a message, photo, or video. In fact, Foursquare is so far not on the list of services Geofeedia monitors, which includes Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Flickr, and Picasa.

Geofeedia allows you to find a landmark or an address on a Bing map, then draw the shape of the area from within which social posts should be captured. Harris said the product has been designed as an enterprise service, with tools for ongoing monitoring and saved searches for specific locations and for sharing the results internally.

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That capability fit well with the campaign L&S developed to promote tourism in 2012. "We wanted to do something different. Instead of just answering when they reached out through Facebook or Twitter to us, we wanted a way to reach out to them while they're traveling across the state of South Dakota," she said. So the tourism promotion team might not only see your photos of Mt. Rushmore or the Corn Palace, they might write you back to compliment you on them, or ask permission to repost them to the tourism department's Pinterest board. In the process, they typically suggest other places you might visit.

"We're kind of upselling them, but also thanking them," Burns said.

Geofeedia captures photos and tweets from on and around Mount Rushmore.

In addition to tracking the area around key tourism locations, her marketing team has used Geofeedia when the tourism agency's Mount Rushmore mascots go on the road to do promotions, capturing images of people posing with their favorite stony presidents in Kansas City or Des Moines--tracking those locations just for the duration of the visit.

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