The purchase price for the privately held company wasn’t announced. MetaCarta said its technology is used for “finding anything written about any place,” by combining geosearch and geotagging capabilities in order to make data and unstructured content location-aware and “geographically relevant.”

Founded in 2001, MetaCarta offers products and services that connect various kinds of content to maps through its platform, geographic data modules, geoweb applications, and hosted content collections. The company has been cited in KMWorld’s 100 Companies That Matter in Knowledge Management and in Red Herring’s Top 100 Private Companies.

According to his company bio, Chief Technology Officer John Frank founded the company when, during research at M.I.T. on microclimates in forests, he needed a different way to view documents based on geography.

The company’s NewsMap is a hosted map mash-up that allows publishers, such as newspapers, to dynamically display locations of places mentioned in articles. The application parses text in a story, extracts any geographic locations mentioned, and then determines their latitude and longitude.

Those coordinates are then used to position icons over digital maps from Google, Microsoft or others. Users can roll over an icon and see text about that story and a link to the full article. Another offering, the company’s GeoSearch News service, compiles stories from many sources and then similarly displays the locations.

Al Hilwa, program director at industry research firm IDC, said, “Nokia is doubling up on geolocating capabilities because they are becoming such an important part of mobile devices.”

Growing Uses for Geolocation

He said the use of geolocating is growing, adding that he expects it “will be integrated into the majority of applications,” mobile or not, within the next five years. There will come a time, he said, when users will wonder, “How did we ever live without geolocation?”

Hilwa pointed to the geolocation of news as an “interesting new dimension” for the technology. He also noted that mash-ups is a “generic term for putting data into the presentation tier” and geolocating could also involve putting geographical data into applications in ways that users don’t immediately see.

Nokia also announced that the Finnish company’s purchase of another company has been completed. Nokia said Friday it has completed its acquisition of Novarra, which has a mobile browser and services platform.