DigitalGlobe’s Tomnod, Crowd Searching for Clues About Missing Plane

DigitalGlobe, the Longmont, CO-based satellite imagery provider, has once again turned to the crowd to help analyze its images as part of a disaster recovery effort, this time for the missing Malaysia Airlines flight that disappeared Saturday.

DigitalGlobe is participating in the search for Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, which disappeared Saturday while flying from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia to Beijing. The Boeing 777 jetliner was carrying 239 people.

For the search, DigitalGlobe is using its Tomnod platform, which crowdsources the analysis of satellite photos. Tomnod posts images and allows users to scan and tag features and landmarks. In this case, users would be looking for debris.

Xconomy ran a story on Tomnod in November, when the company used it to evaluate damage in the Philippines in the wake of Super Typhoon Haiyan.

According to the company’s blog, two of Digital Globe’s satellites on Sunday collected images of a 3,200-square-kilometer area in the Gulf of Thailand and South China Sea where the plane may have disappeared. The company has since expanded its search area as Malaysian authorities widen their search.

The story about DigitalGlobe’s involvement in the search was first reported in the Denver Post.

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90 responses to “DigitalGlobe’s Tomnod, Crowd Searching for Clues About Missing Plane”

  1. Melanie says:

    please give us a larger area to search, they could be on either side of Malaysia…

  2. zac2505 says:


  3. Ivan Goldberg says:

    Good luck getting on this thing it is crashed just like the plane

  4. Joel89 says:

    what is this… im trying to help.. and the server just crashed

  5. al says:

    I would suggest that the slow loading times are more a result of unusually heavy usage due to people helping in the search. Another factor may be the image details adding to download speeds. All-in-all, this is a great service.

    • Angie Ashcraft says:

      I”ve been trying to get online (off and on) for an hour and a half but it won’t let me on. I was able to set up an account but after that the map wouldn’t load. I WANT TO LOOK TOO!! I have an idea where the plane might be.

      • Gia says:

        Yes not working for me as well. Very upsetting! Has been down all day I believe. I just get blank page, all blue with tomnod logo on top left and DigitalGlobe logo on bottom right, nothing else!

  6. jay jag says:

    I think the pilot is in on it. And that plane is most likely in another therd world country by now.. The gov and cia no were it is…

  7. Carson Steele says:

    I see a blue square, no images at all??????

  8. Person says:

    Like they said there are two passports on there that aren’t those people… It might be in another country and it’s being made into a weapon and used on a country

  9. Daron says:

    is it working for anyone

  10. LYNN says:


  11. eva says:

    any way to zoom?

  12. Vinay says:

    I see somethin like boat i guess on MAP 24091.

    Check this out guys and let me know what do you think ??

  13. globalshopping says:

    what about MAP 6060

  14. Sarah Keller says:

    here is something:

  15. Sarah Keller says:

    tell me how the grid is numbered? I can’t find any of the ones you commented on. or take a screenshot. please

  16. deejay says:

    Has anyone thought about a Missile taking down this plane? This is way to
    strange-I still don’t think they are looking in the right place-the plane could have
    gone another couple of hundred miles in either directions if it was on auto pilot?

  17. al says:

    Slow loading speed: As I mentioned early on, the maps appear to load very slowly, even via my higher speed cable pipeline. As long as you are logged in & can see a message: “Map Loading” in the lower right corner, the system is working. Maps tend to load in small squares of info with hundreds of squares making up your search grid. You may have to just walk away from the machine for a while while they load.

    Once the grid is fully loaded, I’ve found it’s easiest to begin at one corner and scroll up or down one screen at a time, searching the screen before moving up or down to next view. Once you hit the top or bottom, scroll right or left one screen, then repeat in opposite direction. It’s a lot like mowing a lawn or stepping through a sort of “swim lane” search grid.

  18. trying says:

    I don’t mean to sound really terrible but I don’t get how this is helping. I’ve tried to get on many times over the last 24 hours and only have been to actually get on twice. I can’t get back to where my tags are, the images are now 3 days old, and there are large areas that were cloud covered. I’m still going to keep trying for a while longer but I think it was a good idea that needs to be more accessible and relevant.

  19. Jakin Pillier says:

    Could we check any of the abandoned airbases in Iran? There is a runway north west of Konarak suitable for landing large aircraft. A novice with only simulator experience could locate it by easily visible landmarks.

  20. Thank God says:

    I think what might have happen is that some how the Coder was taken out by someone and they threw it in the water.So that might the answer why there is no debri in the water. i just Pray for the BEST for the MANY FAMILIES that have love ones that is aboard the plane. MAY GOD BLESS EVERYONE WHO IS INVOLVED

  21. Stomper 102938476 says:

    Best of luck

  22. DMcC says:

    Is there a way to go to a certain coordinate on tomnod?

  23. looking says:

    This was a great idea but the site loads slowly, there are no instructions, the features don’t always work, the images are days old, trying to coordinate with other searchers on social media and look at their posted maps is impossible, and I just don’t see how this could possibly be a valuable tool that so few people can use and/or know how to use. Even questions posted on twitter were not answered. I found zoom in/out by accident and never was able to go back to the tags I had made. Best of luck to future searchers.

  24. ilias says:

    i thing i find an object in map 24091

  25. kapil says:

    Please provide full coverage (new extent – radius of 2000
    miles from KL ) as per new search – Bay of Bengal , Male island , Maldives, luccadive sea ,Andaman sea , gulf of Thailand
    , Malacca Strait. The satellites images should cover sea and land if possible.

  26. peter says:

    I found a plane as well.. Dont know if its flight or what. But it looks like a ‘prop’ plane..But i’m no expert.

    clicky ->

  27. Chris says:

    Please have a look at maps 24306 of the oil rig then go direct I think south to map 23985 of two objects. what do you think.

  28. Chris says:

    Two other maps that are in the direct south direction are 21669 and map 21054

  29. BigTees says:

    Nothing loads. Shame, I wanted to help.

  30. iOSTT says:

    Map 125464 – I found a lot of debris

  31. iOSTT says:

    Same map different view

  32. LoneRanger says:

    I seriously need to know if someone is really looking/reading through the comments here? is this map updated or live? I need help on getting some Maps and this is serious!

  33. DEEHALL5 . says:

    Look at map 211787 on tomnod. It appears to be a full plane in upper left corner.

  34. Mark says:

    Someone needs to look closely at Map#553575…I also found 153 pieces of debris around it…

  35. Mark says:

    Map# 553575-Please check this out

  36. Mark says:

    Yeserday.I looked at 2000 grids…Never seen any oil..But plenty of other things….today, large Heavy oil slick with debris in the following map grids..#545535.543878,542561,542701,543518,543909,544005,543046,……..Also,In 545179…again surrounded by Heavy oil slick…There is Something there like a raft or something…

  37. Mark says:

    Possible Plane-map#553575—Please respond

  38. John Fawks says:

    I have definitely found a LARGE plane in a wooded area on and from what I can tell the rear tail section seems to be disconnected from the rest of the plane.. MAP# 654342

    • Larma says:

      Seriously, that is weird. I see it too. Is this a joke?

      • John Fawks says:

        I looked at it 3 times to make sure myself before I posted it here. But no answer yet from Tomnod if they looked at it.

    • Jimbly De Matt says:

      I see it too, I pulled the latitude and longitude for that location, it’s: 11.577303,92.680922

      Nayashahar RV, Andaman and Nicobar Islands 744105

      Strangely, google maps shows cloud cover over this location? Wtf?

    • Lucifer says:

      I see the same plane in a different map altogether. Something weird here.

  39. Mary Lou O'Connell says:

    I see what may be a plane and wreckage around the same generalized area on Map #592161, #592929, #589882 debris and possible body…not sure….possible wing #584036, #592415 debris, #584534, #596722 not sure what it is…..

  40. f161907 says:

    This is a 777 (imagery captured sun 3/9/2014 4.12am):

    It could be “the” plane yet in flight? Is the imagery date compatible?

    • Kenneth says:

      Could be a 757, they look very similar and the Malaysian 777 took off just after midnight on 3/8/2014 so no way it had the fuel to still be airborne.

  41. John Fawks says:

    Well NO ONE from Tomnod will get back to me on this map. I wonder at times is this site is really working?

  42. John Fawks says:

    Very interesting formation in this area as if you could see all the parts of a plane.. I look very close at it and it is not clouds, something is in the water..

  43. John Fawks says:

    WOW seems 90% of the time Tomnod will not load at all.. Wants to crash all the time.. FIX THE SITE so we can help!!! Please!

  44. TFPM says:

    Maps 281317, 280142, and 27127 from 3/17/2014 need to be reviewed ASAP.

  45. Rick Loewen says:

    If tomnod would go to there grid map on 3/15/2014 at 4:10am utc map #126974 you might see something interesting there. Nobody is checking it out FBI and CNN might be surprised I contacted both. I found it but tomnod won’t send me back to 3/15/2014 at 4:10am to map #126974.

  46. orite says:

    Please check out map 915192 and adjoining 900062 as there are appears to be large pieces of debris up to 25m long. Also maps around it show debris 928320 & 887754