MH370 - your search results are important


As the ocean search for MH370 approaches an unsuccessful conclusion, I strongly believe that the TOMNOD results could still be of use.

Fine, you don’t have a “result” in terms of “aircraft found”. But you do have a gigantic database of “objects of interest” that were tagged by your Nodders. What can these results tell us??

  1. Most knowledgable commentators agree that if the flight ended in the South Indian Ocean there should have been a debris field, and this debris field was potentially detectable by satellite imagery.

  2. An area of >100,000 square kilometers along the 7th arc has now been searched with no result. This strongly suggests that “the plane isn’t there”. If it didn’t crash on the 7th arc, as the sat data predicted, then where did it crash?

  3. Imagine, for a moment, that the Tomnod imagery of the entire SIO was reviewed by your community of taggers. If that is the case, then it is quite possible - even probable - that they did in fact identify the debris field. This makes it VERY important to understand:-

a) Which areas were covered by TOMNOD/DG imagery in the days following the plane’s disappearance?
b) Can we have a map that shows the extent of imagery that was made available for the public to review?
c) Can we also see what the results of this search were? How many “potential debris fields” were located? Where were they? Which one(s) had the highest number of tags (as filtered for credibility using your TOMNOD algorithms).
d) Just as important, can we say where the debris field ISN’T? This could help to rule out some areas as being less credible.

It seems a great shame if this “largest campaign ever” concludes with no analytic report comprising spatial analysis of the results. I have searched for such a report but I have been unable to find one.

If you agree, can you please point me towards your final analysis - or at least the database of the results arising from your campaign?




You can’t say that.
When you search for your ‘lost’ keys, the last place you look is where you find them. By definition.
They still have a large chunk to search.



Actually, when I’ve lost my keys they are normally in the first place I looked, but I hadn’t looked close enough… And that is exactly what I believe has happened in this instance.




I recalled that DigitalGlobe posted information about this in 2014 after we did extensive searches. These should answer the questions you raised:

20 MAR 2014: Search for Flight MH370 – Possible Debris in the Indian Ocean
by DigitalGlobe

“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.”

5 MAY 2014: Crowdsourcing Malaysia Flight #MH370 – Campaign Comes To a Close
by DigitalGlobe

8 million Tomnodders
…tagged millions of possible clues spanning 1,007,750 square kilometers…"

Comment: Areas to image were determined in collaboration with authorities involved with air and water searches. Two maps provided: “The red strips on the map indicate imagery that was collected and crowdsourced.”

“Search teams investigated all the promising leads we discovered but the plane has still not been found.”

Comment: Search teams means on the ocean and air searchers.

Read more at the above links.



First time poster - grateful for the opportunity to learn about the MH370 Tomnod campaign through this venue.

Those red search area rectangles were really useful to me for identifying where the relevant authorities asked you to search - thanks for providing them. What was the rule for taking a region OUT of the rotation? Or was it, “once in, always in”? (If I am reading these red zones correctly, it seems some regions were searched for a longer time than were others.)

I am writing a book about MH370, and wish to be meticulous. Ideally, I’d like to show (as an appendix) a table with the following columns:

Region (i.e. name of each red rectangle)
Coordinates (lat/lon of each corner)
Date & Time first searched
Date & Time last searched
Total tiles in region
Total tiles searched
Total tiles tagged wreckage
Total tiles tagged other
Total tiles tagged oil slick
Total tiles tagged life raft

I appreciate that some areas overlap. I would still like to include each red rectangle as a distinct row in this table, regardless of overlap.
I had hoped to adduce this table from the KMZ files you published (again - thanks for providing), but the most comprehensive KMZ - the one last edited April 8, 2014 - excludes several of the original zones (due to a minimum confirmation count filter, I’m guessing).

Can you help me? Of all the above data I seek (sorry!), the dates over which each red rectangle was “in the rotation” is the key one for me - and hopefully the easiest for you to confirm.




@Mel_Nod is probably the only person that will have this information.



@Brock_McEwen @Jim7

Unfortunately, we here do not have access to the information you seek. You might write to to contact staff. However, they might not be able to provide you the details you seek. Let us know when you publish your work-- should be interesting!



Thanks for the quick reply! The “we” you mention as not having the info - apologies, but who is that, exactly? It is Tomnod I am trying to contact.



Thanks, Terri! I will ask Mel.


#10 is answered by Mel. That’s why I gave the email address. But as I said, they may not have any further info than what was given in that file, which is public and online.



Thanks for clarifying.

Yes, I read your warning - both times and with considerable interest. Tomnod certainly has all the stats I seek - heck, I could square that database off myself, via sampling of Twitter, Reddit, et al, if I were willing to spend enough time and painstaking effort. So either they will supply it to me or they won’t.

I hope they will - I don’t like painstaking work, when the source has the correct answer readily at hand. And my book’s gross proceeds (before publication costs) will go 100% to victims’s families, so I trust there is no concern re: proprietary info.

And if they won’t, I certainly hope they can be completely candid with me as to precisely why not.




If you follow this Forum, you will have seen that Tomnod* has been dealing with some issues, including the malfunction of WV4. This will not be about withholding info, but about whether Staff is or isn’t able to give your request the time it would require to pull old data.

Edit: To clarify my sentence, Tomnod is owned by DigitalGlobe / Maxar Technologies.



Ah - I see.

That’s fine. I am patient.



The “we” are Nodders / Tomnodders. ‘We’ are not Staff.