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Searching for Fossett Online

Steve_Fossett.jpg One of the more innovative projects I've learned about recently is the one that's been set up in the search for adventurer Steve Fossett, who went missing on Monday, Sept. 3, while flying over Nevada.

Richard Branson, a friend of Fossett's, spoke to Google, who in turn spoke with two companies that deal commercially with satellite imagery. The companies—GeoEye and DigitalGlobe—compiled recent satellite photographs of the area in which Fossett is believed to be. They then passed along these images to Amazon's Mechanical Turk Web service, where the general public can make a contribution to the search effort.

The following comes from an NPR story:

Amazon's tool divides the whole search area—6,000 square miles—into small squares about 300 feet across. It assigns each of those small squares to anyone who signs up to help.

"And they click 'yes, there is something interesting in this image,' or 'no, there is nothing interesting in this image,'" explains Peter Cohen, the director of the effort at Amazon.

Steve Fossett search site (Amazon Mechanical Turk)
"Internet Users Join Search for Steve Fossett" (NPR)

Image: Screenshot of Steve Fossett search site on Amazon Mechanical Turk.


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