Is this Steve Fossett’s plane?
I’ve communicated with the Amazon Mechanical Turk folks that are coordinating this imagery search effort on how challenging it is to communicate with them in the event of discovery — which is why I took my own steps to reach out to the SAR folks. They’re working on methods to streamline their interface (and make it easier to communicate findings to one, central point) so this sort of thing is intuitive and easy to do in the future.
My wife is out of town and it’s a Saturday night at home with my 12 year old son. Reading this Slashdot article, I thought “Hey…why not do something useful tonight instead of watching TV?” and I went to this Amazon Mechanical Turk site to help out in the search for Steve Fossett by scouring a detailed satellite image for any signs of what might look like a small, white plane.
About three hours into the search, I found the white plane above. At first thinking “Nah…this is too obvious,” I couldn’t let it slide and immediately tried to find a way to alert the authorities through the Amazon site, but just couldn’t figure out how to do it with any sort of urgency.
So I instead did a quick search and found the woman (Major Cynthia Ryan) who is running the search for the Nevada Civil Air Patrol. Her voicemail left her home phone but it’s been busy for over an hour. I next called the dispatcher for the local sheriff’s office near where the search central is (Minden, NV) and left the latitude and longitude coordinates with the dispatcher.
For some reason I was troubled. I plugged the coordinates into Google Maps and was dismayed by the significantly lower resolution imagery, but I could see more macro level detail and realized that the plane I found is in California and specifically within Mono County.
Next call was to the Mono County Sheriff’s Office who has the data now. The dispatcher, John, actually called me back to the get the latitude and longitude coordinates since he didn’t do it on the first call we had. He sure sounded more urgent so we’ll see.
The plane looks intact and I sure hope Fossett is found a bit busted up but alive.
About Steve Borsch
Connecting the Dots Podcast
Podcasting hit the mainstream in July of 2005 when Apple added podcast show support within iTunes. I'd seen this coming so started podcasting in May of 2005 and kept going until August of 2007. Unfortunately was never 'discovered' by national broadcasters, but made a delightfully large number of connections with people all over the world because of these shows. Click here to view the archive of my podcast posts.