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News has never looked as good as this...

If you like news, and elegant ways of representing data visually, then you will just love newsmap.

newsmap, as you would expect, maps news stories visually, using Googlenews as its source. Here's a screenshot of UK national news stories at c. 1 p.m. today (click on image for a closer look):


You can click on each story to see the number of articles and view original articles and filter the feed so you can include a mix of different categories for news. You can also compare the news from two different territories side by side - here's how the business news looks today in the US and the UK as two newsmaps:


We can - at a glance - tell that  concerns about consumer spending in the run up to Christmas is the lead story for most media in both countries, with Singapore's comments about the WTO conference in December taking second place.Other stories are smaller and more regionally focussed.

I'm not sure how accurate or specifically applicable this application is but it does spark a number of thoughts:

1. If you were able to manipulate the filters more this could be the start of an extremely useful  monitoring / evaluation tool: anyone who gets involved in these areas as part of their job will know how the crunching of big numbers of news feeds and turning them around  into meaningful analysis is hard work. 

2. If a tool like this can be combined with an automated broadcast monitoring tool it would be possible to actually see in real time what issues and conversations where happening that affected your markets, publics or directly your brand.

My prediction (yep another one): we'll see cross-media, dashboard / analysis tools across all media appearing over the next five years, and the use of them will be a core offering for corporate communications and research firms by 2010.

There's a fuller technical explanation of what it does on the site here.

newsmap's been around since last year - but it's the first time I've come across it and I am deeply delighted by the things that it does. I haven't had an online-epiphany like this since I saw Plumb Design's first visual thesaurus in the late 90s (also still as  beautiful and practical as it ever was - have a look here).


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newsmap is very neat; lovely display. Thanks for the heads up Antony. I agree completely that coming years should see new forms of visual representation coming onto the marketplace. For me one of the greatest things about these techniques is the way that they can help focus one's attention on important trends and not become distracted by trivial items.

That's right. One of the problems of information overload is not getting distracted, when there are just so many interesting things you could follow up in any one moment.

Newsmap is good looking but will need to evolve / be built upon much more in order to be really useful to anyone who needs to analyse news as part of their job.

Next generation versions of this kind of thing will most likely include ways of filtering and cross-referencing very, very quickly.

I've seen prototypes of services that do very similar things with high volumes of news and other content, so I imagine that we will see high end versions being offered to us in the next couple of years.

That rocks. Hard.

The posibilities are great. If, as the end user, you could choose which sources to feed into the newsmap then you'd have something really useful. I guess it would take someone like Factiva to really bring this concept alive. They already have licensing deals with most of the mainstream media so they could map news in this way quite easily.

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