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DigitalGlobe Launches Crowdsourcing Campaign to Find Missing Malaysia Airlines Jet in Satellite Images

By DigitalGlobe | Published:

UPDATE March 11: We are working to best handle an unprecedented level of web traffic and interest in supporting the search. Please check back soon. We have new imagery collections planned for today and hope to make those images available online for the crowd as soon as possible.

DigitalGlobe today activated its crowdsourcing platform in an effort to locate the Boeing 777 jetliner that mysteriously disappeared on Saturday while in flight from Malaysia to Beijing. If you would like to volunteer your time to support the rescue mission, please visit DigitalGlobe’s Tomnod platform to begin combing through satellite imagery for clues that may help locate the missing aircraft.

DigitalGlobe owns and operates the world’s most advanced constellation of commercial imaging satellites. In response to the aircraft’s disappearance, DigitalGlobe activated FirstLook, a subscription service for emergency management that provides fast, web-based access to pre- and post-event imagery of time-critical world events.

On Sunday, two of the company’s satellites collected imagery of the area where evidence suggested the aircraft may have crashed into the water, where the Gulf of Thailand meets the South China Sea. The spacecraft collected approximately 3,200 square kilometers of imagery that can now be analyzed by the crowd using DigitalGlobe’s Tomnod platform.
Today, the Malaysian government updated the search area to reflect new information, and DigitalGlobe revised its tasking plan to collect imagery further north in the Gulf of Thailand. The new imagery is expected to be collected tomorrow morning around 10 a.m. local time and made available on the Tomnod platform very shortly after it is uploaded to the DigitalGlobe archive.

Tomnod, which was acquired by DigitalGlobe in 2013, has been involved in the response and recovery efforts for numerous natural and man-made disasters. When Typhoon Haiyan struck the Philippines in November 2013, DigitalGlobe immediately activated a global crowdsourcing campaign. Within about 24 hours, thousands of volunteers tagged more than 60,000 objects of interest, and the results were made available to the public and to FirstLook subscribers within hours.

Base map courtesy of National Geographic

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