Satellite imagery used in search for Flight MH370

April 2nd, 2014, Published in Articles: PositionIT


DigitalGlobe provided the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) with the satellite images that appeared to show debris that may be related to missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. The satellite images were captured on 16 March 2014 by its WorldView-2 satellite at a resolution of approximately 50 cm. The company’s constellation of five high-resolution imaging satellites captures more than 3-million km2  of earth imagery each day, and this volume of imagery is far too vast to search through in real time without an idea of where to look.


DigitalGlobe has been applying their satellite resources over a broader area than the official search area, while only focusing the efforts of their Tomnod crowdsourcing volunteers on the search areas identified by authorities. The efforts of millions of online volunteers around the world allowed the company to rule out broad swaths of ocean with some certainty. In the meantime, DigitalGlobe’s customers, including the US government and other governments, have been receiving the imagery for their own search efforts. The search area has since expanded to the southern Indian Ocean region and waters near Australia, and the Australian government is combing through imagery of this extremely large area.

Contact Digital Globe,

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