back to article Google Earth mobilised in search for Fossett

Amazon and Google are colloborating to try and locate adventurer Steve Fossett, missing since last Monday somewhere in Nevada. Amazon has mobilised its Mechanical Turk using the "latest" images of Nevada and parts of California just deployed on Google Earth, and is asking people to scour snippets of imagery for Fossett's …

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Can Google help...

...me find my keys?

No disrespect to Mr Fosset(t); but not filing a flight plan? not carrying a locator beacon? How Irwin of him.

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Erm.... 2

Just how new are those 'latest' pictures then? The 'brand new' Goggle Earth images of my house are at least 6 years old.

Unless Mr Fossett has been secretly attempting to set a new record for being the first man to travel backwards in time, how do they expect this to help?

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Latest images?

Disappearing Fossett aside, what do they mean by "latest images" ?

Do they mean they flew a bunch of places with belly-cams all over the place to garner such, or did Richard Branson promise the head of the NSA a freebie on Necker if he retasked a couple of his birds over the area?

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RE: Latest images

On the Amazon site thingy, it says "Through the generous efforts of individuals at several organizations, detailed satellite imagery has been made available for his last known whereabouts", so I'm guessing some agencies or organisations generously diverted current mapping/photography projects to this area for a while.

And of course the imagery will be more recent than when he went missing - otherwise, what's the point? Wouldn't take long to photograph that area anyway.

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RE: Erm / Latest images

As far as I'm aware, a lot of Google Earth is comprised of Quickbird imagery, which offers a fine spatial resolution of around 2.4m (multispectral). Quickbird has a repeat cycle of about 3 days so, considering Steve has been missing for about a week, there is at least one or possibly two or three fresh sets of imagery.

The more likely reasons for the imagery of your area being out of date are persistent adverse atmospheric conditions in your area (frequent cloud clover etc.) or, most probably, Google not updating the application - rather than the imagery not being available.

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Anonymous Coward

Erm.... 3

At last some medium-rez images of Basingstoke, which are 8 years old minimum.

Seeing that VW Scirocco parked in my drive has brought a nostalgic tear to my eye and a shiver to my heart.

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Silver badge

@Can Google help...

When you're flying VFR you don't need to file a flight-plan, or even give any notice of where you're flying to. And, for the record, he was actually carrying a survival kit with a beacon in it and another beacon attached to the plane. The one on the plane is designed to start transmitting if it undergoes a heavy impact (aka a crash). The one in the survival kit is manually activated. The fact that neither has been activated means that he might have made a controlled landing and then tripped and broken his neck. Or he could have crashed in a deep valley, which would make it almost impossible to pick up the signal. Or... well, a lot of things.

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Anonymous Coward

Religious Cult

He probably joined a religious cult in southern Utah.... happens to alot of the people that disappear in Nevada. They Wind up in southern Utah somewhere, Ted Kazynski style with three wives.

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Flight plan

You only need to file a flight plan if you're crossing international boundaries or flying under Instrument Rules, such as in corridors. As his was essentially a recreational (and probably quite random) flight within a single state it's very reasonable that he didn't file a plan.

Emergency locator beacons are primed to go off when jolted heavily - but how do you test them?

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Anonymous Coward

What is interesting...

According to the BBC article about the search they havent yet found Steve Fossett yet but they have found six other missing aircraft during the search.

Obviously at least six other pilots were not rich enough to warrent the massive search that has been launched for Mr Fossett.

I like the idea of people looking for the crash site on google maps though. You can just see the thinking there. All these people from various rescue agencies sat around the table scratching their heads and then some bright spark says "why not look him up on Google, you can find anything on there?"

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And getting worse

Until recently Google maps have been clearly within the last 3 years over my bit of East Anglia, 'cos I could see the kids' trampoline in the back garden. I'm not sure when they switched but now the map is showing trees I cut down when I moved in 5 years ago and the previous owner's car in the drive.

Google - this is NOT progress!

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who

Obviously at least six other pilots were not rich enough to warrent the massive search that has been launched for Mr Fossett.

who?

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Anonymous Coward

Is it a Plane?

While looking over google earth in the 'general' area of Fossett's disappearance I found something 'interesting' at 38.8752025067, -119.363520819

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O

Theory about nukes ...

Not sure that the B-52 ever overflew Nevada and it would appear that the disputed number of nukes may be press confusion. Most sources say 5 ...

However, the following article is an interesting one ... and it does seem plausible. Especially as the story appeared in the press in the first place due to concern on the part of anonymous officers in the Air Force, rather than official statements.

http://www.atlanticfreepress.com/content/view/2357/81/

What do you reckon, Lester?

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Silver badge

10 years...

... should be ten yards. And all the other typos should be what they're meant to be as well.

The dyslexia shows when I get narked.

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Not this *again*...

"Obviously at least six other pilots were not rich enough to warrent the massive search that has been launched for Mr Fossett."

This was answered quite well in the previous article about this bit of news, but I think it deserves answering again. Nevada is Big. VERY. VERY. BIG. Every time they go out searching for wrecks it's likely they'll find other wrecks that weren't found last time they went out searching, and it's already been established that some of the wrecks they've found were either badly marked or are so old that they didn't have a hope in hell of finding them the first time around. We're talking about wrecks dating back to the 60s.

It's a large state that consists of lots of very lumpy deserts interspersed with mountains. It is empty. There are places out there where people have not set foot for over a century, not counting the odd plane that might have crashed and burned in those places. It has nasty box valleys and crevaces, weird rocks that overhang things and lakes that are about 10 years wide wide and half a mile deep. It has weird stuff. Above all it's BIG. You could lose a plane out there and NEVER find it again in some instances. There are about a hundred or so aircraft that have gone missing in Nevada and never been found because it's so big and so empty.

Frankly this "Oh it's because he's rich" bullshit is getting on my nerves. Can you tell?

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Latest Images?

Let us hope that the detail coverage of Nevada on Google Earth is better than that of my particular bit of North Wales. Here, you'd be hard put to spot an Airbus 380 parked in a field.

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Anonymous Coward

Mechanical Turk

The registration process for Mechanical Turk wants your bank account info. Can't afford to have my bank account debited just trying to help out with the search.

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Re: who

Nobody knows who because the FAA isn't sending anyone out to inspect those sites until they decide to stop looking for Fossett.

Couldn't he just do hard drugs and die off in his hotel room (unless he has the Keith Richards gene) like the rest of the overly rich bored wankers of the world? It'd be nice and easy and then the only cost to taxpayers would be the cost of the Sanitation Department picking up the rubbish.

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Silver badge

They're looking in the wrong area!

Why are they looking for him in a hilly area? He was looking for possible locations for a planned attempt on the world land-speed record, and that won't be on a hill... so he's probably sitting in the middle of a flat salt pan somewhere, cursing his plane's wheels for digging into the soft salt causing the plane to flip onto its back, and wondering if anyone will find him before he dies of thirst. There's a big lake with a huuuge flat beach just south-east from the area of updated satellite images, if I were him I'd have looked at it as a possible world land-speed record location.

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Re: Is it a Plane?

Well, it certainly looks interesting

Here is the coordinates with the Amazon-provided overlay:

http://img477.imageshack.us/img477/9500/withoverlayzt5.jpg

Here it is without:

http://img477.imageshack.us/img477/5254/nooverlaypo0.jpg

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Anonymous Coward

If you watched TV last night...

You might have seen the program about the guy who claims to be psycic (Utter rubbish, but thats another story). You would have seen the huge surche effort two people were going through looking for there daugher whos plane crashed in that area, and herd what they had gone through with offical surches. Thhey do have mass surches for any crash, just not frineds who can rope in Google, and mass media covarage.

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Title

I don't think he'll ever be found, he's probably done an 'Amelia Earhart' - great way to stay famous for a long, long time ;-)

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Anonymous Coward

Title

"The registration process for Mechanical Turk wants your bank account info. Can't afford to have my bank account debited just trying to help out with the search."

It didn't want mine.

I've searched a square mile of the desert now using it, it's a good idea (this is about 361 pictures I worked out).

"Why are they looking for him in a hilly area? He was looking for possible locations for a planned attempt on the world land-speed record, and that won't be on a hill.."

Because he may have been flying over hills to search for flat areas beyond them? He didn't necessarily crash / disappear at his intended destination. You have to get there as well.

I'm getting pissed off with all the "because he's rich" crap as well. Give it a break. I'm sure they had search parties for the other guys as well, this one just got more media attention.

"No disrespect to Mr Fosset(t); but not filing a flight plan? not carrying a locator beacon? How Irwin of him."

He didn't need to file a flight plan, and he was carrying a locator beacon. It just hasn't been set off / got damaged.

Why is it when something like this happens, everyone is so keen to pin the blame on the victim? This man has achieved a lot with his life, and I hope they find him quickly. Hope is fading as time goes on though...

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Possibe location?

I found a possible location here :-

38.855209,-119.324570

It certainly looks plane-shaped and it's about the right size (according to Amazon's guide)

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So - what do you do if you find something?

For example, whats this on google earth?

Lat: 38°41'54.28"N

Long: 119° 2'12.78"W

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Possible hit.

This is a white plane and is clearly visible at an elev of 1610m

The problem is the KML does not include locations and search areas, or recent and discarded hits.

Take a look though.

38°41'54.33"N

119° 2'14.44"W

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Nevada...

...Area 51. UFOs. Alien abduction. He'll be back next week with an RFID chip implanted in the back of his head.

You know it makes sense ;-)

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