Google Earth for search and rescue
I know we have some Google Earth fans out there that use it to study ski areas.
Anybody here helping in the Google Earth search effort for Steve Fossett? This kind of massive citizens-search of satellite imagery for a lost aircraft is probably unprecedented and is a pretty neat use of modern technology.
Excerpt on this from the Steve Fossett Wikipedia entry:
On September 7, 2007, Google Inc. helped the search for the aviator through its connections to contractors that provide satellite imagery for its Google Earth software. Richard Branson, Fossett's British billionaire friend, said he and others were coordinating efforts with Google to see if any of the high-resolution pictures might include Fossett's aircraft.
On September 8, the first of a series of new high resolution imagery from DigitalGlobe was made available via the Amazon Mechanical Turk beta website so that users could flag potential areas of interest to search in what is known as crowdsourcing. By 11 September, up to 50,000 people had joined the effort scrutinizing more than 300,000 squares of the high resolution imagery. The volunteers inspected each 278-foot-square square and flagged any that they believe contained something worthy of follow-up. Squares flagged by several people were given greater scrutiny. Peter Cohen of Amazon believed that the entire search area had been covered at least once by 11 September
I saw that and "unofficially" checked several maps. They basically provide coordinates, ask that Google Earth "terrain" be turned off for highest resolution, and set height to about 1,500 feet. The details are pretty good. Also being a licensed pilot myself, looking at these maps and having others do that may help but it is still very difficult to see details, especially if a high impact crash did occur. I wish them all luck.