The Threat News Explorer collects and displays news articles where wildland threats are discussed on the web. The application is hosted in the Amazon cloud and utilizes the Google AJAX Search API to create a database of news articles for specific predefined threats such as bark beetle, climate change, etc. There is also an option to enter search terms and retrieve a list of articles retrieved from a Google news search.
The Threat News Explorer (TNE) application was built for the USDA Forest Service Western Wildland Environmental Threat Assessment Center (WWETAC). TNE facilitates assessment of wildland threats by collecting and displaying news articles on the web that discuss these threats. The user can view the latest, all, or selected articles for specific predefined threats such as bark beetle, climate change, etc. There is also an option to enter your own search terms and retrieve a list of articles retrieved from a Google news search. Articles retrieved from a user specified search are not saved.
The application is available here. Using the TNE application is simple. Users have a choice of either selecting predefined wildland threats, or entering their own search terms at the top of the page.
The application display area is divided into two sections. On the right is a map displaying the locations of places discussed in the articles. The left side of the display contains a tabbed interface with the following tabs:
The application is hosted in the Amazon cloud and utilizes the Google News Search API to create a database of news articles for specific predefined threats. Each threat is searched on a daily basis and the results stored in a database on the TNE server. The server makes a copy of each news web page for internal use.
During the process of collecting articles, the TNE application also searches for known places discussed in the articles. This process uses Yahoo's PlaceMaker web service for identifying places in the web page text. The process of identifying places relevant to the article can be difficult. It is possible for the PlaceMaker web service to simply make a mistake in identifying a place. We attempt to remove incorrect places or places not relevant to the article through an internal ranking and filtering system, and also through manual edits to the database. The places are displayed on the map as points. The user can click on a point to view a popup window for the place. This window will list each article that discusses this place, along with clips of the article text that contains the place name.
This project was inspired by the paper written by Galez, et al (http://www.scribd.com/doc/13756691/Galaz-et-al-2009). This project provides the basis for working towards the concept presented in the paper by starting with a web crawler and data archiving system for news articles on wildland threats.