Malaysia Airlines Flight 370: Internet Users Can Help Search It

Internet users can assist in searching for the lost Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 from the comfort of their home computer.

As government searchers can’t find a trace of plane, internet users given chance to help

On Monday DigitalGlobe Inc (NYSE:DGI) announced a crowdsourcing campaign to find the lost Boeing 777 aircraft. Tomnod, a DigitalGlobe crowdsourcing platform, is allowing internet users to search through satellite images and then identify potential objects for further investigation.

DigitalGlobe Inc (NYSE:DGI) claims to operate the world’s most advanced commercial imaging satellites.  The company, which provides its imagery to Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG), offers a subscription service called FirstLook that provides internet-based access to timely imagery.

Internet users identify and tag significant objects

People can help by joining the Tomnod volunteer team and then labeling important locations and potentially significant objects, such as potential airplane wreckage.  The satellite images are updated regularly. On Sunday, DigitalGlobe Inc (NYSE:DGI) collected around images from 3,200 square kilometers from the Gulf of Thailand that can be analyzed by the Tomnod community.

Web site down, fielding “unprecedented level” of traffic

Internet users Malaysia Airlines search

DigitalGlobe said Tuesday that Tomnod is fielding an “unprecedented level” of Web traffic after kicking off the campaign, and when visiting the Tomnod web site the site was down. The company is in the process of uploading new images.

Site used in 2013 Philippines typhoon

DigitalGlobe Inc (NYSE:DGI) acquired Tomnod in 2013. The site was used by thousands of internet volunteers to tag 60,000 objects after a typhoon hit the Philippines in November 2013, a report said.

The Malaysian aircraft disappeared without a trace over the weekend with 239 passengers on board. There are currently 9 different countries searching 10,000 square miles.  The search is centering on the relatively shallow South China Sea, the area where the plane initially lost digital contact with aircraft control. There has been no sign of a crash in the ocean. The search should move to land, where the thick jungles of Vietnam can quickly envelop a plane.