InternetSAR.org: Volunteers collaboratively analyzing aerial and satellite imagery to assist in search and rescue efforts.

InternetSAR.org

Volunteers collaboratively analyzing aerial and satellite imagery to assist in search and rescue efforts.

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Google Earth vs. InternetSAR.org

One constant point of confusion for people and the media is what role Google Earth (and thus Google) plays in Internet imagery review efforts.

Google Earth is simply a software application like Microsoft Word or Internet Explorer.  This application enables people to look at aerial imagery of the Earth along with other geospacial data like a simplified GIS (geographic information system) application.  All default imagery that Google Earth provides is old imagery normally taken several years earlier.  Thus, individuals using Google Earth by itself outside of a structured effort like InternetSAR.org are looking at old data that would not contain the object being searched for. 

InternetSAR.org uses Google Earth as our primary software application to deliver our updated aerial or satellite imagery to our members via something called a KML overlay file (think of it like a Word document or web page). This overlay file contains instructions for Google Earth as to what imagery to request from our web server and how to position that imagery on top of Google Earth's old imagery.  This allows our members to compare our new imagery taken after the search object went missing against Google Earth's old imagery, which is several years old.

To review updated imagery via the Internet and Google Earth for a search mission we are working on, individuals must be members of our website and they must be requesting imagery overlay assignments from our website which will contain new imagery for a tightly defined area that is to be reviewed. Once the member has completed reviewing a given overlay assignment, they then request a new assignment from our server.  This ensures a systematic review of the imagery we have for a given search mission.