From the National Archives and Records Administration NARAtions Blog:
Imagine that you want to find electronic records related to a particular geographic location in a very large collection (40 TB and about 70 million files) of archival electronic records. Wouldn’t it be cool if you could pick up an iPad, have a map pop up on the screen, run your finger over the area on the map you were interested in, and have a list of relevant record collections show up on the screen next to the map? Wouldn’t it be really cool if you could then drill down through that list and see metadata about records in each collection?
Our Research Partners at the RENaissance Computing Institute (RENCI) and the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill have demonstrated prototype tools that can carry out just such a search, and more. The development of these tools is part of the NARA and National Science Foundation (NSF)-supported Cyberinfrastructure for Billions of Electronic Records (CI-BER) Project. They recently presented their interim results at the 2011 Large Data Analysis and Visualization (LDAV) symposium in Providence, RI.
Interim results, screen caps, and more are found in the remainder of the blog post.
On a related note, there are a couple of apps that allow users to draw on a map or circle words on a web page and the access relevant results.
- Yahoo Sketch-a-Search (iOS)
- Bing Lasso Search (for iPad)
- A Blog Post from March 2007, When Ask.com Introduced AskCity Search-Enabled Drawing Tools (No Longer Available)