I’ve probably seen too many spy movies and TV shows to believe in the effectiveness of using real-time satellite imagery in hunting down people. But this time, it’s for real. And you might just help save a life. Amazon.com has posted this “task” on its Mechanical Turk, which is a site meant for coordinating human collaboration where the human intellect outperforms computers–usually called Human Intelligence Tasks.
On Sunday, January 28th, 2007, Jim Gray, a renowned computer scientist was reported missing at sea. As of Thursday, Feb. 1st, the US Coast Guard has called off the search, having found no trace of the boat or any of its emergency equipment.
Through the generous efforts of his friends, family, various communities and agencies, detailed NASA aircraft imagery has been made available for his last known whereabouts.
Check out the NBC news article for details.
Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to view satellite imagery presented to you and identify any object in the water that may resemble Dr. Gray’s sailboat (or parts thereof). Digital Globe recently took thousands of images and has made these available to aid in the search, but it might be too daunting a task for just a few people to sift through.
So maybe it’s time to prove that there is indeed power in numbers.
Amazon has samples of what a sailboat might look like from a bird’s eye point of view, and you might just be the one to spot his possible location. Once you mark an image possibly containing a profile of the boat, a team of specialists will investigate if that particular image can aid in locating the good scientist’s whereabouts.