While more than 10 countries and dozens of search teams are scouring the vast stretch of ocean between Malaysia, China and Vietnam for the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, internet users have taken to the web to expand the search.
Flight 370 disappeared from radar screens about two hours after taking off from Kuala Lumpur’s International Airport bound for China on 8 March, and a massive search and rescue effort has been mounted to locate the plane.
Satellite imaging company DigitalGlobe has given internet users a chance to expand the search, by making the latest highly-detailed satellite images available for users to pour over in search of wreckage – or anything that could be floating in the waters.
“This is a real needle-in-the-haystack problem, except the haystack is in the middle of the ocean. I will ask you to mark anything that looks interesting, any signs of wreckage or life rafts,” Luke Barrington of DigitalGlobe told CNN.
The rescuers searching the ocean have a vast area to search, so crowdsourcing helps to alleviate the problem. The imagery from DigitalGlobe were taken 400 miles about the Gulf of Thailand, and covers an area about 1,235 square miles.
“In many cases, the areas covered are so large, or the things we’re looking for are so hard to find, that without the help of hundreds of thousands of people online, we’d never be able to find them,” Barrington explained.
DigitalGlobe, which owns one of the world’s most advanced commercial satellite networks, has been inundated with web traffic, so much so that their website has crashed.
Internet users who would like to help find the missing Boeing-777, can visit http://www.tomnod.com and start searching.
Charlie Fripp – Consumer Tech editor