Upcoming New Antarctica Campaign and Other


Hello long time, short time, and devoted Nodders:

I want to apologize for my silence on the forum and address a couple things, including the dormancy lately of Tomnod.

But first: We will have another upcoming new campaign in Antarctica (yes! more ice-eyes) that I am putting together with Michelle LaRue. We will be looking at a new species in a new habitat - all based off the success of your previous work with Weddell Seals. Thank you for your help forging new discoveries in a remote and special place! Stay tuned in the coming weeks for that new campaign.

Second, I know that you have been left alone here on the forum for some months and that we have not launched new campaigns. DigitalGlobe and Maxar are undergoing a number of leadership and technical direction changes and challenges at the moment. No doubt you have heard and discussed: the resignation of Howard Lance, the loss of WV04…etc etc. Company-wide, we have been all-hands-on deck with assessing every portion of our business. A lot is in flux, including the ownership and the future of Tomnod. I did not want to come here until I had some concrete news for the group. Unfortunately, I still don’t have any. When I do, I will come and report. The only thing I know 100% right now is that we are going to forge ahead with our Antarctica work, and if you are interested in participating again, Michelle and I and the Seal Residents of Antarctica no doubt would be grateful.

Thanks for your understanding during a tough time.


Thanks for posting what you could @Mel_Nod. We have been talking about possibilities. At least we know what the direction will be in the near future…Antarctica work…and the long term will be decided at some point and you will let us know.


Thanks for posting @Mel_Nod! We have missed your presence on the forum. I really hope that Tomnod has a future. We are ready for “deployment” at any time as we have remained active through “Water cooler” threads on the forum.

I look forward to the Antarctica campaign and would also like to request that the Maria campaign be kept up as we are slowly inching up and it gives us a project to work on while waiting for other campaigns. Also, we have come so far, but I am still tagging some houses with no “agrees”. Since Maria started slowing down for people, I began creating new accounts (kateg*) to deal with the slowdown and changing to a new ID after things began slowing (every 10,000 tags roughly). I have not been working as much on Maria lately, but will dive in for a goal with helping us finish this campaign.

I wish I could express to the people making decisions about
Tomnod how passionately I feel about the continued existence of Tomnod. As I have said above, there are a core group of people dedicated to this mission and if needed could send word, via the forum, that a new project needs attention. I believe the PR aspect has been great for the company. New people often come to the forum to see if we can help with lost boats, planes, etc. so there is an awareness of Tomnod.

Also, I still believe we Tomnodders can be helpful as human checkers of new algorithms used on datasets. There are so many situations I believe might be encountered where human input is needed. For one example, I am thinking of the fishing nets campaign in Ghana, where we identified illegal fishing nets. This type of campaign can be greatly helped by human crowdsourcing as there was probably not an existing algorithm to identify fishing nets.

We Tomnodders work for free. It seems like there should be a way to take advantage of this whether it is for PR purposes, humanitarian crises, human input for algorithm developent, and probably situations that no one has thought of before.

I sincerely hope that people making decisions about Tomnod will take these things I have discussed into consideration.


I try to convey this, but you said it better than me.


Hi Melissa, Thanks for the new campaign and update. We realize that you have other jobs to perform at Tomnod/DG and the forum cannot take you away from those. While some of us - and not just the “Regulars” - have started to feel that we were being phased out (if I may use that term) by those very algorithms we helped to develop. The price of modernization… I’m sure everyone knew about the loss of WV-4, but I myself didn’t know about Howard Lance’s resignation. We did feel that the Tomnod staff were probably redirected to providing the data that WV-4 was supposed to deliver by using the remaining satellite constellation. Everyone probably got shuffled around. Understandable… but… the sudden lack of any news from and response by any of the staff had us all spinning thoughts in our minds as to the future of Tomnod and the forum itself. Thanks again for the news and hopefully there will be more good news in the near future.


Thanks for the update, @Mel_Nod! It’s good to hear that you’re still on board, and that you’re planning a new campaign where we can participate.


What she said!! All of us feel very deeply about this.


Thank you all. I know how passionate you are about Tomnod. The work you have done on our campaigns is of amazing quality and contributes to great causes. Things have been done that couldn’t have been done before - with your help.

You may have or may not have been watching Maxar’s stock price over the past year since the merger. We are having to make some very, very hard choices across all parts of the business and things are in flux during this process. Know that I am in meetings dealing with the future of crowdsourcing on a weekly basis - the most recent was yesterday. I consider it my job to advocate for Tomnod. Nothing has been decided concretely, and I will let you know when it has. I wish I had an estimate but I don’t at this time.


Thank you for your efforts, Melissa… and for letting us know what’s been going on. I think many of us realize when something negative happens in a big corporation, there’s always a corresponding knee-jerk reaction - usually on the negative side. The stock market is a prime example of that. It often takes a dive even when nothing actually happens, but just on speculation. (I think some of these traders need to take a vacation and relax a bit. :wink:)