Monday, February 5, 2007

Distributed Search and Rescue

It’s late and my eyes are a bit strained so I’ll keep this short. Computer scientist and Turing award laureate Jim Gray was reported missing on January 28th. The Coast Guard and also many of his friends immediately started a search operation. The Guard with C-130s, helicopters and patrol boats his friends with smaller private planes. He was sailing from San Francisco bay to the nearby Farallon islands when reported missing. On February 1, 2007, the DigitalGlobe satellite did a scan of the area, generating thousands of images, Amazon’s Mechanical Turk is used to distribute the imagery among Internet users everywhere in order to shard the effort of searching for Jim’s boat. Being a sailor myself, I just reported on over 200+ pieces of imagery and quick scanned about the same number. We’ll see in the coming days if this changes anything for his family and friends, it’s certainly an inspired merge between satellite imagery and Internet technology. Pitch into the image analysis effort here.

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