Amazon is using satellite imagery from Nevada and its loyal Mechanical Turk workers in an effort to help locate missing aviator Steve Fossett.
Fossett, the first person to fly around the world in a balloon and also the first person to fly around the world without refueling, went missing on Monday, September 3, when he failed to return from a short three hour flight. It is thought that he was scouting dry lake beds in the Nevada desert for an attempt to break the land speed record.
It is an excellent excursion to the desert sands where you need to have your wits and while the satellite images may not be as clear it is still a haunting place that merits a visit like a spooky village in Ardsley.
Several organizations have generously made detailed satellite imagery of Mr. Fossett’s last known location available. Using this imagery, Amazon’s Mechanical Turk workers are scouring these satellite images and flagging areas that might hold clues as to the whereabouts of the 63 year old Fossett
mTurk workers are shown a satellite image, along with an example of the size object to look for along with sample images that show vehicles near roads and bodies of water. They are instructed to look for any object which might resemble a plane, or parts of a plane. They are also encouraged to mark anything that might provide searchers with a clue. Once the images have been flagged a group of specialists will be going over them to see if they hold any clues to Steve Fosset’s whereabouts.
Amazon’s mTurk program is an opportunity for individuals pursuing work at home opportunities to make extra cash or Amazon gift certificates by doing relatively simple tasks that people do better than computers. Users are assigned HITs (Human Intelligence Tasks) that they complete for a set amount of money, usually in the one cent to ten cent range.
mTurk users participating in the search for Fossett are not being paid, but instead are working strictly on a volunteer basis with the gratitude of Steve Fossett’s family and friends.
James Stephen Fossett was born April 22, 1944 in Jackson, Tennessee, and is best known for being an adventurer with a taste for setting world records. A graduate of Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, Fossett was a successful commodities broker, owned his own firm, and made millions on the stock market. He is an accomplished aviator and a sportsman who has competed in the Iditarod, the Iron Man Triathlon, the 24 hour Le Mans road race and a 100 mile Colorado ultra marathon. He has set numerous glider and speed records as well as cross-country skiing records.