Tarkkailija (“Observer”) service has now been officially launched at etarkkailija.fi.

Are you interested in what changes and planning are happening in your local environment? Tarkkailija service helps citizens and companies to get early alerts on new information and plans on topics of their interest. The services covers information from over 400 websites of the Finnish public sector, including municipalities, ministries and other state institutions. Tarkkailija is a map-based information service, where the user can define both topics and locations of interest to search through the vast archives. The service will automatically inform the user whenever there is new information available regarding the interest topics for the defined location.

Leiki finds the right information

We at Leiki have been excited to be a part of such a unique project in the public sector. Until now, content has been difficult or even impossible to find with standard Internet search engines. They either fail in understanding the place names accurately, or can’t locate the right information of that particular area. Or even worse, the effort has been left for the user to crawl through the deep dungeons of hundreds of web sites.

Tarkkailija service has turned the search based traditional concept upside down and put the user in the center. We combine altogether over 2.2 million articles and documents, altogether hundreds of gigabytes of data – enough content to fill several miles of library bookshelves – which we analyze with Leiki ontology of more than a million interrelated concepts. This includes thorough disambiguation where terms such as place names are matched with their correct meanings.

What is disambiguation?

= What is the difference between Paris (France) and Paris (Tennessee, USA)?

Disambiguation refers to a process of identifying words or phrases that have multiple meanings and finding out which meaning is correct in its particular context. Here we are dealing with many street or place names that have several, some even hundreds of meanings (i.e. the same place name exists in many locations). We find out the correct meaning in each particular case so that the service can return results from the relevant places and topics, removing matches that have the same words with different meaning.

Some examples: There are 26 lakes called Kuusijärvi and there are around 70 places called Kallio around Finland. There is a street called Käsivarrentie in the Finnish Lapland that spans over 150 km, with street numbers from 1 to over 15.000. Leiki distinguishes which exact lake, place or street address the user is looking for and finds the most relevant matches from over 2.2 million content articles.

Below a search for lake Kuusijärvi located in Vantaa and relevant results for the search: Leiki finds the documents and articles that are related to that particular lake and not the other 25 lakes with the same name.

Tarkkailija with Leiki SmartSearch

Leiki understands your interests

The system also analyzes user interests in real time and presents personally relevant content. Both behavioral and contextual content recommendations are shown on the etarkkailija.fi site, but perhaps more importantly these recommendations can be easily integrated to any online service, such as a municipality site, through the Leiki Focus widget platform. As a result, the user will get a unified and seamless service conceived by the personally most relevant information from the multitude of public sector organizations.

Behind Tarkkailija

The idea with the service has been to provide easy access to all kinds of public information in your environment – whether you are looking for information about building projects around your house or where you wish to move, about road works on your way to work, about services in your area, about environmental projects happening around the lake you swim in or close to your summer cottage. We would be happy to hear your feedback on the service and how you use it!

The Leiki Focus services that are employed in Tarkkailija are SmartSearch for content search and alerts, SmartContext for contextual recommendations and SmartPersonal for behavioural recommendations. Both are widely used by publishers and broadcasters as part of our SmartMedia suite.

Tarkkailija is a part of The Ministry of Finance’s Action Programme on eServices and eDemocracy (SADe) in Finland. Read more about it here.

How to use Tarkkailija?

Go to etarkkailija.fi and first select the area (1). You can write a location name such as the municipality, district or street name, a postcode or select freely from a map the area you are interested in. Then enter the topics (2): there are some topics offered – environment & nature, safety, building, sports, traffic & roads, zoning & land use and living – but you can also define topics your own. Click to search (3) and Tarkkailija will find you the relevant documents and articles collected from the numerous archives. You can also save your search and set it to email alerts on relevant new articles to you.