RSS

The Bulletin

How to help search for the missing Malaysia Airlines flight

Posting in Technology

 

malaysia-airlines-flight-search-tomnod.png
 At the time of this writing, the search for Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, the flight that went missing last weekend, continues. Numerous countries are pooling resources to find the missing plane. 

And so are average people with a computer and Internet connection. 

Digital Globe, a company that provides high-resolution Earth imagery, has deployed its crowdsourcing arm Tomnod to help in the search efforts. 

Here's how it works: Digital Globe gathers recent satellite images from the 24,000 square kilometer search area. When you go to the site you are given a random image to search. If you see something of interest -- airplane wreckage, a life raft, an oil slick, or some other unusual object -- you can tag it. Anyone can volunteer their time to help with the search. 

An algorithm is then used to determine the areas with the most tags to help pinpoint areas of interest in the search.

Luke Barrington, a digital manager at Digital Globe, told Wall Street Journal Live, that many of the company's customers are in national governments. But in this case the data gathered through Tomnod is openly available to anyone who is able to use it. 

According to a press release on Wednesday from Digital Globe, more than 2 million people have already sifted through satellite images of the search area and tagged 645,000 objects of interest.

The site has recently been used to tag objects after the typhoon in the Philippines, the tornado in Moore, Oklahoma, and Hurricane Sandy. 

It's crowdsourcing at its best. 

Join the search here.

Image: Tomnod

— By on March 13, 2014, 7:54 AM PST

Tyler Falk

Contributing Editor

Tyler Falk is a freelance journalist based in Washington, D.C. Previously, he was with Smart Growth America and Grist. He holds a degree from Goshen College. Follow him on Twitter. Disclosure