Join an Armchair Search Party for Malaysian Airlines Flight 370

Got a little time to spare? If you can handle a simple online experience, you could join a millions-strong armchair search party – regular people with Internet connections who are helping to solve the riddle of Malaysian Airlines flight 370, which vanished more than a week ago on its way to Beijing.

The most recent news reports suggest that what might be pieces of the plane’s wing have been spotted via satellite imagery floating in the Indian Ocean. But the search is still on. Even if this debris does turn out to be from the plane, additional sightings could help searchers figure out where the plane went down.

That’s where you come in.

The satellite imaging company Digital Globe has been volunteer searchers through its Tomnod crowdsourcing tool. Tomnod lets you access Digital Globe’s satellite feed and, square by square, scan the surface of the Indian Ocean for what might be signs of wreckage, an oil slick or a life raft.

tomnod screen


How Does It Work?


The process is simple and the site designed to be easy for anyone to use. After you sign in with an email, you’re shown a section of the ocean as seen from Digital Globe’s satellite; if you see something suspicious, you click on one of the icons to tag it: debris, raft, etc. Use the arrows to move up and down; once you’ve scanned a square, you just click in the space to the right to load a new one. A counter keeps track of your progress, square by square.

The company says that volunteer sightings have already helped it narrow down the search field. You can view other peoples’ sightings on a map and click in to view a detail.



It’s not exciting work, but digital crowdsourcing initiatives like this one have yielded results – for example, after after a small plane went down in the Idaho wilderness in January, in the wake of the Hayan supertyphoon and after the Oklahoma Tornado in 2013. Once you’re signed up for Tomnod, you’ll receive alerts whenever volunteers are needed for a new search.

oklahoma tornado


The power of people all over the world, of all ages, coming together to help solve some very human puzzles: It’s one of the beautiful things about today’s digital culture.

Click here to access Tomnod


35 responses to “Join an Armchair Search Party for Malaysian Airlines Flight 370

  1. pshchic friend of mine says its hidden behind some trees my guess being hijacked by north korea with all passengers been used as prisoners ?The pshchic revealed that its possible could have gone into north korea as no satelite exists in that part of the world ,if it is hidden in trees must be a forrest next to an airport

  2. This plane was hijacked to Afghanistan and
    the passengers were kept in different places
    without even water to drink and no food and
    this is done by the terrorists of that country.
    I doubt whether any one still alive and later
    the plane was dismantled into pieces and re-
    painted to show a different face and not to
    show any identity of Malaysian Airlines. I
    request the authorities to do a thorough search
    in Afghanistan with the help of the government

    1. Agree totally, they are searching in the wrong place. US and Boeing have something to hide.
      It was heading towards Diego Garcia and the search is in the opposite direction because of pings.So much time has passed since it vanished that no floating debris would be found.
      A fisherman, sailor and oil rig worker have all seen the plane on the night in question.
      Shot down I suspect or in custody where no one is allowed. Hmm DG.

  3. obviously the second link I posted was not mine, after I discovered and shared that Tomnod map, other people worked on that image to enhance it and I choose the best one. But many other people are sharing my view and enhanced the map in various ways.
    I could not send my own enhanced pics due to the fact this form does not allow attachments, so I choose to send you a link to pictures enhanced by a third person, who I thank for his work an support for this theory, which is shared by a lot of people amongst the “armchair hunters” who, during two months (and even more ) supported this theory based on the Tomnod satellite image. I don’t ward rewards or claim to be the first to have discovered the “object”, but if you browse through old Tomnod facebook page’s posts, you can find easily my comments and posts. Thanks to all the people from Australia, Usa and other Countries for their support, in particular, amongst them , Clint Myles , Robert Leslie Williams , Tina Webber from Australia, and Christine Worsley Kallen , Lori Gerthoffer from USA, Claus Dastrup from Scandinavia and all the other “armchair searchers”whose posts have been, and are still being, an inspiration to stick to my idea.

    Pietro Hublitz
    Sihanoukville ( Cambodia)

  4. I have already sent to you the Tomnod map where I found an object resembling a stuck airplane on the reefs south of Cor Nicobare islands. The old link to the Tomnod map is but they seem to have changed link to it ( I have it, though). More enhanced photos of the same object? Here:

    It is more than two months that I keep posting that map on the Tomnod Facebook page, I wrote to Richard Quest by Twitter, I wrote to the JAAC in Australia, I wrote to BBC and CNN, to no avail. Please , could you send there someone with just a normal patrol boat? the waters are shallow……If you wish I have other enhanced photos of that object, and I have researched if during the WWII some bomber went down in that area, with no results. Also, the object is not visible in Google Earth ( mapping obtained years or months ago) so it should be something which has crash-landed recently.
    Pietro Hublitz
    Sihanoukville ( Cambodia)

  5. If MH 370 did not crash in the ocean. There should be search of all serial numbers of any electronics and passports carried by the passengers and crew members and serial numbers of the aircraft parts such as electronic components in the black market. If you find one of this items you can prove the plane did not crash in the Indian Ocean. Good luck try Iran and Yemen black market..

  6. I think that once the pilots said good night to the ground control and switched the guidance on auto pilot mode and either relaxed or had left to the rear part of the plane. Making use of the opportunity made their way into the cockpit and disabled the communication equipment, lowered the altitude to elude radar detection and headed for west Asia like Yemen, Iran or Afghanistan. I have this suspicion because some people in one of the islands of Maldives had sighted a very low flying plane with colors resembling Malaysian Airlines, passing that island early the next morning.
    I suspect the two Iranians who went aboard on fake passports are trained pilots who know about that type of Boeing airplanes. According to me three of these possibilities are there:
    1. The plane had fallen into the sea between
    the Maldives and Yemen/Iran, having run
    out of fuel,
    2. landed in Yemen to be used for terrorist
    3. landed in Iran or Afghanistan to be
    converted into a flying bomb against
    western targets.

  7. Given many flights leaving Australia for the UAE and similar destinations cross the Indian Ocean and the suspected flight path of MH370 is it possible that on board radar could have detected the missing aeroplane?

  8. I suspect the terrorist had hijacked the plane
    to Afghanistan and also as per the Indian
    Newspaper I read that the passengers were
    divided into seven sections and kept in diffe-
    rent places without water and food. Why not the authorities investigate about this from
    Afghanistan government, may be Taliban
    terrorists have organized this, perhaps this
    may be true. Hope the authorities will do
    something and get the passengers released.

    1. We need to do the detectives work here.Remote control electronic was installed into this B777,it was rigged and warplanes have been used that night to abduct the plane,the cargo and the pax. Ordinance has been fired (warning shot or meant to kill) that Oil rigger observed the fireworks in the sky.

  9. As l have quite a bit of time free per day, l too am as interested in locating this missing plane, as is many other people around the world, just to find the causes as to why it just disappeared, and therefore perhaps make it possible that this should never happen again.
    I feel very strongly for those families who are waiting to hear what has happened to their loved ones!

  10. I HAVE ALREADY PUT my comments since 23rd March, three million US Dollars , to name who can help dig out solid information from sources.

    Second choice which I asked Paul the Octopus of the scenarios, the Octopus is on the net,

    Third i have put all my analysis one of them is the Malaysian Government has approached United Nations direct, presented the UN with a suggestion of a tracking system for aeroplanes, when UN has already been contacted the Malaysian authorities know already the plane could have been flown to an unknown location, also believing the plane is somewhere but the passengers are not.
    The scenario for no.3 will be : the passengers are all sold out for human organs all deceased by now

    or the torture form of drugging the passengers giving them sedatives and making them brain washed with different Identities.

    either or I am willing to contribute sirs and madam given such a solid chance. first let me give you the details here…….

    The search is of no use, the Hung Moe Kwais are confident in Australia that the plane is not in Bay of Bengal, then they know the plane is somewhere
    of the last two possible scenarios:

    a) if plane is hijacked it is already worth millions of dollars y to destroy it, the contents are worth much more

    b) the plane could have been shot down by missiles by the jet fighters entering Vietnam brought to the mountains and shattered in the tiniest pieces so no debris can be located, the blast so intense the contents of the plane turn to ashes with the new rocket.missiles hitting the plane,

    these are the following logic , if no debris it is somewhere okay, for that three million US bucks are required my friends,

    thank you for tuning in.

  11. Very whimsical proposal. They don’t provide all volunteers for searching with geographical coordinates, and they force volunteers to search where they want to be searched. I want to help searching a specific area that I have on my mind, but they don’t let me go there, neither let me know where I am searching.

      1. Satellite imagery is done by satellites that ‘fly’ over the earth, not those that are geo-stationary way way further (24km above the earth) so it is not possible to see a map of the earth at a given ‘time’. A full map of the earth takes maybe a full week to create, so if you are lucky you may have a few images of the area where the plane was flying, but at best that would give you 2-3 data points of the entire flight path.

  12. As seen on bbc & CNN plane may got freezes,transformed into an ice object,cruising at high speed,hit ocean,and maybe now lying at the bottom of ocean.Hence underwater search should be enhanced at possible spots.

  13. I have used TOMNOD for quite a few hours and although the concept is good it is not very encouraging to use. The maps are identified by numbers so you have no idea where you are searching. Often it is the South China Sea or even LAND ! Then when you do find something of interest to tag it increments your tag count but doesn’t save a copy. So no going back unless you remember their map number or scan the display image. Also no recognition of whether your tag is useful. It’s interesting but after a time demoralising.

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