Amazon’s Mechanical Turk service has started on a humanitarian mission: to help find Steve Fossett. As you might have heard on the news, Steve Fossett went missing on September 3 while flying over the Nevada desert. Satellite imagery has been made available for his last known whereabouts (he did not file a flight plan) and Mechanical Turk HITs have been set up to review those images.
The HIT is listed at http://www.mturk.com/mturk/searchbar?requesterId=A1U5V688O4PR3V . It’s live for a week and you have sixty minutes to work on each HIT. The HITs are small squares of satellite images that you have to review for unusual objects. Examples are provided for you; if you want to get a closer view of the image, you’re given a coordinate to use in Google Earth. With each hit, you either report that you have seen nothing unusual or you report any strange objects — a space is provided for comments.
I found some of the squares pretty dark — being able to refer to Google Earth will be a help, I’m sure. If you’ve been interested in Mechanical Turk, this is your opportunity to see how it works and help out in the search besides. You will need an Amazon account to work on the HITs.