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11/03/2014 by

DigitalGlobe Starts Crowdsourced Search For Malaysian Plane

DigitalGlobe, the leader in providing high-resolution satellite images, aerial photos and geospatial content, launched an online crowdsourced search for the missing Malaysia Airlines 777 plane. Curious how you can help? Read on!


For anyone who may have missed the news, flight MH370, with 239 people on board, lost communication while on its way to Beijing from Kuala Lumpur last weekend. There hasn’t been a trace of the aircraft ever since.

So, What Can We Do With DigitalGlobe?

DigitalGlobe set its satellites to the Gulf of Thailand, and snapped high resolution photos of the entire area in which the plane could have gone down. It then activated its crowdsource platform Tomnod and uploaded photos of 3200 square kilometres.

You can view the photos, zoom in, and tag things that look like wreckage pieces. If multiple people tag the same spot on the photos, it will be marked. The top 10 of marked spots will be inspected by rescue workers.


An hour after its launch on Monday the photos had already been viewed 60,000 times, and 1,000 tags had been placed.

Luke Barrington, DigitalGlobe’s senior manager of geospatial big data says:

We try to use the crowd wisely and not tire them out. The story here is much more about the search than it is about the response. This whole feeling of not knowing, the lack of information or ability to do anything, we have seen time and again, is why people want to get involved. If there is something to see on the surface (of the water), we will see it. But the question is if we are looking in the right area.

Tomnod will load additional photos into the platform when its satellites cover different spots.

Source: The Denver Post

My Opinion

What more can I say than, this is absolutely amazing. I’ve been trying to get on the platform for a while, but servers are overloaded. It’s that crowded. People want to help, and that is a great development.

Hopefully something useful will come out of DigitalGlobe’s efforts because this could be the way the possible wreckage will finally be found.

What Do You Think?
Are you going to try the platform? Tell us!

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About The Author
Marion aan ‘t Goor is a Social Media Consultant at ICON&Co. You can connect with Marion via Twitter and LinkedIn.


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