P2P-enabled Search for Missing Objects and Persons

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A form of Peer Production or Crowdsourcing whereby the public is asked to assist in search activities for fallen planes, etc.. using Google Earth and similar technologies.


"The Internet has made the search both intensely local and truly global. Search organizers urge the public to scan satellite images of the terrain available on Google Earth. If they see something that might be the plane, they flag it to searchers, who compare the images Google purchased last week with images from two years earlier.

"Technically, it's completely simple," said volunteer Tim Ball, printing out a map in a trailer beside the fatigue-green tent that serves as search headquarters. Inside, a volunteer in a green shirt sat by a phone that has rung with calls from Poland, Russia and Japan. Beside him, two volunteers in orange shorts were hunched over laptops.

"You have the benefit of tens of thousands of eyes," Ball said. "It just needs some screening. But it's totally worth it."

A Nevada Air National Guard C-130 Hercules ascends daily to conduct the search, along with helicopters including two AH-60 Black Hawks, two OH-58 Kiowas and a Chinook. The choppers chase tips from people who think they may have spotted Fossett's plane on satellite images that Google spent an estimated $100,000 updating last week to assist the search.

"It's almost like an Amber alert," said Allen, the state trooper, "in the sense that you're trying to get as many eyes as possible out there looking for one individual."

Some tipsters are detecting very small things. Several have flagged x-shaped survey markers that from overhead may resemble a plane but, in fact, measure two feet across." (http://www.chander.com/2007/09/peer-production.html)