Update: GE to help in Search for Fossett?
The AP reports that “analysis of radar data and satellite images from Sept. 3, the day Fossett disappeared in a small plane, led Air Force technicians to believe they had spotted clues to his route.” That’s prompted two planes and teams on foot to explore a section of the desert in Nevada where Fossett disappeared on Labor Day.
On Weekend Edition (National Public Radio) this Saturday Scott Simon observed that it’s telling that we can’t find Fossett, who presumably wants to be found in the rugged terrain, and yet there are regularly calls of incompetence associated with the search for Bin Laden.
The Nevada Civil Air Patrol suspended its portion of an aerial search pending new leads in the hunt for aviator Steve Fossett yesterday. Maj. Cynthia Ryan reported that the patrol has searched 98 percent of the 20,000 square mile region where Fossett was last seen. Aircraft from CAP will be on stand-by at Minden-Tahoe Airport in support of ground searchers. And, the Nevada National Guard will still be searching.
Also worth noting is this blog post from from Ken Barbalace about his experience searching the images and what he’s learned from the search. His list of “what to fix” for next time is required reading for anyone thinking about the future of this sort of search support.
DigitalGlobe imagery is now available via Mechanical Turk for searching. A DigitalGlobe spokesperson reports that some collects have been sent to Google. Again, it’s unclear Google role in the process, but perhaps it’s “gatekeeper” for imagery going to Mechanical Turk.
Also, more on the hyperspectral sensor in use for the Mercury News:
One of the new technologies being deployed is ARCHER, an acronym for Airborne Real-time Cueing Hyperspectral Enhanced Reconnaissance.
Developed for aerial spotting by geologists and refined for search and rescue, it can “see” objects that don’t belong in desert vegetation—like a piece of airplane, [Civil Air Patrol Maj. Cynthia] Ryan said. While the human eye typically detects three light bands, ARCHER can analyze 50.
Ryan also notes it’s unlikely those looking at imagery on the Web will help; they don’t really know what they are looking for. The plane she says is likely debris.
Still no word from Google about GeoEye involvement.
(1) NPR notes GeoEye and DigitalGlobe provided imagery. Whether both are in Mech Turk is not clear to me.
(2) Wired cites ONLY DigitalGlobe, though no one I’ve spoken to has seen a DG copyright in an image in Mech. Turk. The article also notes that 3 “versions” of the imagery exist, ideally from different passes and one is believed to have completely reviewed. 50,000 people have participated in the search via the online imagery. Each square is reviewed by 10 people - those with mulitple “votes” to look further, get higher priority.
(3) Merchandise “commemorating” the search does not include DigitalGlobe.
——Update 9/10/07 12:20 pm EDT:—-
We contacted GeoEye for information on the imagery being used in Mechanical Turk. The reply via their PR group: Their official statement is no statement and that we are to contact Google for remarks on the Fossett search. We’ll try that.
Update (8:30 pm EDT):
Update: 6:30 am EDT
Amazon, Google and GeoEye (I was mistaken in saying DigitalGlobe earlier; see reference here, though I’m not aware that GeoEye supplies images to Google regularly) have posted imagery on Amazon’s Mechanical Turk so that Web users can help in the search akin to what occurred in the search for Jim Gray. Those interested can view images and note if they see something that might be Fossett’s plane. Also, they can look at more detailed images in Google Earth. I don’t believe that option was available last time.
C|net blogger Peter Glaskowsky offers his experiences with the app and the search.
The AP is reporting that indeed Google contacted DigitalGlobe for imagery. DG spokesperson Chuck Herring confirmed the company had no new recent images of the area, but would on Sunday. “We are partners with Google, so we always try to help out in any way we can,” Herring said.
—- original post 9/5/07——
When I heard this morning that Steve Fossett was missing after taking off in a small plane in Nevada late Monday, my first thought was of Jim Gray. Here’s another well-known person who seems to have disappeared. I recalled how the tech community jumped on its tools to try to locate Gray and wondered if that would happen again.
Apparently, it’s begun. Richard Branson (Virgin Atlantic) has contacted Google about accessing imagery that might give some clues. I’m sure Google will pass on the information that the imagery folks at DigitalGlobe, GeoEye and aerial companies may have more up-to-date imagery
The Civil Air Patrol has been looking for Fossett for two days with planes and helicopters.