Mordecai is a new full-text geoparsing system that extracts place names from text, resolves them to their correct entries in a gazetteer, and returns structured geographic information for the resolved place name. Geoparsing can be used in a number of tasks, including media monitoring, improved information extraction, document annotation for search, and geolocating text-derived event data, which is the task for which is was built. Mordecai was created to provide provide several features missing in existing geoparsers, including better handling of non-US place names, easy and portable setup and use though a Docker REST architecture, and easy customization with Python and swappable named entity recognition systems. Mordecai’s key technical innovations are in a language-agnostic architecture that uses word2vec (Mikolov et al. 2013) for inferring the correct country for a set of locations in a piece of text and easily changed named entity recognition models. As a gazetteer, it uses Geonames (Geonames 2016) in a custom-build Elasticsearch database.
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