Tomnod: Plane Search Website Expands Map Coverage


Tomnod, the map search website currently being used by hundreds of thousands of people in an attempt to search for missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH 370, said it expanded coverage of its map.

But on Monday afternoon, the site was down. UPDATE: The site is now back up as of Monday at 5 p.m. ET

“Tomnod is experiencing technical difficulties. We apologize. We’re poking our servers with pointy sticks to figure out what’s wrong,” it reads. “We will collect new DigitalGlobe satellite images today and hope to have them online as soon as possible. Please check back soon,” it said, adding that it would give updates of the service via e-mail as soon as new images are available.

A day ago, Tomnod said that “DigitalGlobe’s expert analysts continue to expand the search area. Tomnod.com has been updated with 11 new images, including shots over the Indian Ocean,” according to a Facebook post this weekend. “All DigitalGlobe images were captured in the daytime, around 10:45am local time.”

It also wrote Monday: “Sometimes our eyes see what we want them to see,” with a map image. “Just got note from our analysis team who has been digging in to map #128148. Although it is still an interesting clue, it is looking much more like the other boats operating in the region.”

The search was also expanded to the Straits of Malacca and Indian Ocean, reports indicate. Some users on Twitter were speculating that the plane may have landed on U.S. Naval Base Diego Garcia, an island atoll in the middle of the Indian Ocean. However, those rumors were shot down by Malaysia’s transportation ministry.

Tomnod said via Twitter that it put up new high-resolution satellite images of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, and parts of the Indian Ocean were also uploaded.

Malaysia Airlines vanished from the airspace on March 8, with more than 230 passengers and crew members on board.

So far, a multi-national search across the northern and southern hemispheres has yielded next to nothing. Officials are looking into the backgrounds of the two pilots.

Tomnod, managed by satellite company Digital Globe, is believed to have more than 3 million participants in the plane search, and it has had about 200 million map views since the plane disappeared.



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