March 20, 2014 -DigitalGlobe today confirmed that it provided the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) with the satellite images that appear to show debris that may be related to Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, which has been missing for 12 days and counting. The satellite images were captured on March 16 by our WorldView-2 satellite at a resolution of approximately 50 cm. Working with our customers, DigitalGlobe continues to task our satellites to collect imagery of a wide area that includes the waters around where the possible debris was identified yesterday.
Given the extraordinary size of the current search area, the lengthy duration of the analysis effort was to be expected. Our constellation of five high-resolution imaging satellites captures more than 3 million square kilometers 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. We have been applying our satellite resources over a broader area than the official search area, while only focusing the efforts of our Tomnod crowdsourcing volunteers on the search areas identified by authorities. The efforts of millions of online volunteers around the world allowed us to rule out broad swaths of ocean with some certainty.
In the meantime, other customers including the U.S. government and other governments have been receiving our imagery for their own search efforts. Based on our understanding, the search area expanded to the southern Indian Ocean region and waters near Australia only in the last few days, at which time the Australian government started combing through imagery of this extremely large area.
No conclusions have been reached about the origins of the debris or objects shown in the imagery, and we are not aware that any subsequent search missions have been able to locate it. But the experience again demonstrates the unparalleled geographic reach and persistence that satellite imagery provides for critical government missions and emergency response situations.
Our thoughts go out to the families and communities of those affected by this tragic situation, and DigitalGlobe will continue our support of this recovery effort in accordance with our purpose of Seeing a Better World™.
From the DigitalGlobe Blog