US: Voyager Search has been named one of 15 finalists in the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency’s (NGA) first ever Disparate Data Challenge (DDC). Voyager’s submission, dubbed the “NGA Data Depot,” solved the issues laid out as part of the Challenge by creating a single point of search across disparate formats and content repositories.
The company also took the extra step of enhancing the index with additional labels to make faceted search easier. During their review, the NGA judges used Voyager’s configurable UI, Navigo, to search some 200,000 items by keyword or place name, filter results based on relevant facets, and drill down into the details of any individual piece of content before deciding if they wanted to download it.
Realizing Voyager’s offering exceeded the contest requirements, the judges recommended Voyager be included among the 14 other finalists.
To participate in the DDC, companies needed to be able to “demonstrate effective capabilities that enable access to data that is wildly disparate in its formats, schemas, interfaces and locations, so that it may be available for search, business metrics and data and information analytics,” according to the NGA website. In addition, the NGA noted it was looking for a solution that:
- Is easy to use and presents results in a cohesive, understandable way.
- Provides contextually relevant information.
- Can search everything at once providing global utility.
- Is fast and flexible, accounting for less than perfect inputs, but does a good job with specialized content.
- Offers a cost-effective alternative to custom solutions but which also operates in secure environments.
Voyager addressed all five of the NGA’s requirements, with content ranging from file based data to web services to web pages. In fact, Voyager indexed these assets and their metadata quite easily. When it then came time to index HTML pages, Voyager harvested any files found, stored them locally, and made those items searchable and downloadable as well.
To help make it simpler for the NGA judges to search and filter, Voyager decided to enhance the index with labels — Content Category, Data Description, and Data Link. These labels were used as filters to reflect NGA’s content repositories and groupings, enabling reviewers to hone in on specific types of content, if they so chose. Voyager did this all without modifying the source content.
“I’m extremely proud that our team was able to make 27 of the 28 repositories outlined in the DDC searchable, with 200,000 of those indexed items including almost 100 different formats,” said Voyager founder and CEO, Brian Goldin. “We conducted this work quickly and easily because we started with our COTS software, which has many of the tools required to deliver the data challenge already. Our entire team is very excited about being named one of the 15 finalists and we’re now looking forward to turning our attention to Stage Two of the contest.”
As a Stage One qualifier, Voyager Search was awarded a $10,000 cash prize, along with the opportunity to participate in Stage Two, which is a demonstration (Demo-thon) of the Stage One awardees’ solutions in the Washington, D.C. area from Oct. 20-21.