Buffalo, N.Y. (CBS/AP) — Hundreds of thousands of people have scanned satellite images from DigitalGlobe Inc. for clues to the fate of a missing Malaysia Airlines jetliner, the company said Tuesday.
Users of the website can tag images if they see wreckage, life rafts, oil slicks or other evidence.
DigitalGlobe is calling it a crowdsourcing campaign to help search crews. The company plans daily updates of the images on the search website, tomnod.com.
Shay Har-Noy, DigitalGlobe’s senior director for geospatial big data, called the response “quite overwhelming.”
“Our servers are having a hard time keeping up with it,” he said.
Unfortunately, a visit to the website on Thursday morning reflected that — an error message showed up, along with an apology and information that the site is experiencing “technical difficulties” but hopes to be back online today.
U.S. government agencies have access to DigitalGlobe’s images as well, he said.
Flight MH370, a Boeing 777, left Kuala Lumpur on Saturday with 239 people on board. The Malaysian military said Tuesday its radar showed it changed course over the sea and reached the Strait of Malacca, hundreds of miles from its last position reported by civilian authorities.
Har-Noy said DigitalGlobe started getting emails from interested individuals shortly after the plane disappeared, asking for satellite images they could examine for signs of the plane.
He said the company has provided satellite images for five or 10 search operations around the world in the past 18 months.
DigitalGlobe, based in Longmont, Colo., has five imaging satellites in orbit.