| DENVER, March 11
DENVER, March 11 A Colorado-based company has
put crowdsourcing to work in the search for a missing Malaysia
Airlines jetliner, inviting Internet users to comb
through satellite images of over 1,200 square miles (3,200
square km) of seawater for any sign of wreckage, the company
said on Tuesday.
DigitalGlobe Inc used two of its satellites to
collect imagery from an area between the Gulf of Thailand and
the South China Sea where the Boeing 777-200ER with 239
passengers and crew on board was at first believed to have
crashed after it went missing early on Saturday, the firm said
on its website.
The effort by DigitalGlobe was launched just before
Malaysia's military indicated the flight might have gone way off
course, which could place its last known location hundreds of
miles from where DigitalGlobe collected satellite imagery for
its crowdsourcing project.
The company placed the images on its crowdsourcing website
Tomnod on Monday and invited the public to join in the search
for any sign of the plane, whose disappearance has become the
focus of one of the most baffling mysteries in recent aviation
The flight last made contact with civilian air traffic
control roughly midway between Kota Bharu, a town on Malaysia's
eastern coast, and the southern tip of Vietnam while flying at
an altitude of 35,000 feet (10,670 meters).
"If there is something to see on the surface (of the water),
we will see it," Luke Barrington, DigitalGlobe's senior manager
for geospatial big data, told the Denver Post. "But the question
is if we are looking in the right area," he added.
A Malaysian military officer told Reuters that flight MH370
from Malaysia's capital of Kuala Lumpur to Beijing appears to
have turned around and made it to the Strait of Malacca, to the
west of peninsular Malaysia, instead of to the northeast of the
country where initial search efforts were conducted.
Navy ships, military aircraft, helicopters, coast guard and
civilian vessels from 10 countries have crisscrossed both coasts
of Malaysia in an effort to find the plane, deepening the
mystery over the its disappearance.
The DigitalGlobe imagery collected for the crowdsourcing
project covers over 1,200 square miles where the Gulf of
Thailand meets the South China Sea, the company said on its
DigitalGlobe said in a statement that it was working to best
handle "an unprecedented level of Web traffic" and interest in
supporting the search.
"We have new imagery collections planned for today and hope
to make those images available online for the crowd as soon as
possible," the statement said on Tuesday.
An official from the company was not immediately available
DigitalGlobe is asking Web users to tag any clues that may
help locate the missing plane. If users start tagging some
regions in large numbers, DigitalGlobe plans to use a computer
algorithm to detect that, Barrington earlier told ABC News.
DigitalGlobe used a crowdsourcing campaign when Typhoon
Haiyan struck the Philippines in November, as the company relied
thousands of volunteers who tagged over 60,000 objects of
interest to help tally the destruction, according to the firm.