Recent advances in distance function learning have demonstrated that learning a good distance metric can greatly improve the performance in a wide variety of tasks in data mining and web search. A major problem in such scenarios is the limited labeled knowledge available for learning the user intentions. Furthermore, distances are inherently local, where a single global distance function may not capture the distance structure well. A challenge here is that local distance learning is even harder when the labeled information available is limited, because the distance function varies with data locality. To address these issues, we propose a local metric learning algorithm termed Local Semantic Sensing (LSS), which augments the small amount of labeled data with unlabeled data in order to learn the semantic information in the manifold structure, and then integrated with supervised intentional knowledge in a local way. We present results in a retrieval application, which show that the approach significantly outperforms other state-of-the-art methods in the literature.