Malaysia Airlines flight Mh370 carrying 239 passengers and crew members en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, disappeared early Saturday morning, within hours after departing. Five days in, despite a huge search and rescue mission of planes and vessels from 12 countries (so far), the whereabouts of the plane is still unknown.
In the face of such a tragedy, it’s easy to feel disheartened and helpless. Aside from offering prayers, there is one other thing we can do: help with the search and rescue using Tomnod.
DigitalGlobe’s crowdsourced search platform, Tomnod, lets anyone with an Internet connection help in the search for Mh370. Harnessing detailed satellite images of the region in which the plane is believed to have disappeared, the site is asking for users to comb through satellite images and tag objects of interest that they find.
So far, more than 600,000 has participated in the exercise, and you can too.
Update: Tomnod has retired their service.
Search For Mh370 With Tomnod
To get started, just visit the Tomnod website. Click through the introductory text and press Start Tagging! on the Tomnod screen to start your search. You can also scroll down and find a bit more info about what you’re expected to help tag.
You’ll be taken to the main Tomnod screen. Most of the screen’s real estate is devoted to the satelite images themselves. The sidebar to the right shows all the map sections you’ve covered, one tile at a time.
Above that, there are 3 counters to show the number of map tiles you’ve explored, the number of objects you’ve tagged and the number of people who’ve agreed with your tags.
The left side of the screen has four icons for the 4 types of tags:
- Life raft
- Oil slick
If you find something, just select the appropriate icon and click on the map to drop a tag. DigitalGlobe will use a computer algorithm to determine whether particular areas are tagged more than others. Sattelite imagery experts will then take a look at these highly-tagged regions and follow on from there.
There’s also a Notifications sidebar, accessible by pressing the Notifications button on the upper right of the screen, beside the Help icon. This is where any and all notifications will be shown. The icon will also show the number of unread notifications, if any.
You can also register a Tomnod account if you want to keep track of all your contributions. Just press the Sign In button on the upper right of the screen, right beside the Notifications button, and sign in with an email address.
DigitalGlobe will keep updating Tomnod with new images and data to reflect new information and any changes in the search area.
If you are unable to access the site at any time, just try again later as Tomnod’s servers are struggling with the incoming traffic eager to lend a hand to the cause.
Also, there might be times where there aren’t any satellite images available, even though the site itself is online: this is due to the DigitalGlobe team uploading new imagery. Again, all you can do is check again in an hour or so.
*Our thoughts and prayers are with the families and loved ones affected by this incident.