Nokia acquires location services vendor MetaCarta

The Finnish phone manufacturer continues to push location-based services

Nokia on Friday said it will acquire MetaCarta, a privately-held company in Cambridge, Massachusetts, that specializes in finding content for location-aware services.

MetaCarta's technology bridges the gap between content and maps, according to the company. Its Geosearch technology can find content, data and information about a place and present it in a single view and its Geotag technology can be used to find geographic references in various types of content, which then can be used in other applications. For example, the NewsMap application processes the text within news stories to extract the geographic places mentioned in them. The result can the be overlayed on a digital map, according to MetaCarta.

Nokia is giving few details on how it plans to use MetaCarta's various technologies, only saying that it "will be used in the area of local search in location and other services," according to a statement. Nokia didn't provide financial details about the deal.

The deal reinforces the importance that Nokia is putting on maps and location-based services, according to Paolo Pescatore, analyst at CCS Insight.

The mobile navigation sector has been heating up this year. On Jan. 21, Nokia introduced a new version of Ovi Maps that included turn-by-turn voice guidance for walking and driving navigation for free. The update is a direct response to Google, which had already done the same for its Android OS.

The deal is the second time in two weeks that Nokia has acquired a privately-held U.S. company. On March 26, Nokia bought Novarra, a Chicago business that specializes in mobile browsing.

Nokia isn't the only tech company that has been out shopping this year. Here are a number of other interesting tech deals.

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Mikael Ricknäs

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