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September 09, 2007

Amazon Launches Where's Waldo Search for Steve Fossett

posted by MR WAVETHEORY at 9/09/2007 05:30:00 PM

Steve Fossett may have taken his final adventure when the hot air ballooning adventurer's airplane disappeared over Nevada. Ballooning is a fairly dangerous sport because you're basically dangling in the air hoping that the wind doesn't swoop you away. But ironically, it wasn't ballooning that did him in. It was merely flying an airplane. Amazon.com has launched the Web 2.0 version of a Where's Waldo! search for Steve Fossett. Amazon.com, Inc. (Nasdaq AMZN) has setup a webpage to help find Steve Fossett by reviewing 50,000 satellite images of the areas where he is likely to be.

Finding people using satellite images is a fairly novel idea. What's even more unique about Amazon.com's search for Steve Fossett is that they are asking users to review the satellite photos - lots of them - using Mechanical Turk. It's called Mechanical Turk because people are performing very specific tasks rather than computers. In this case, you, the Mechanical Turk, will be reviewing millions of photos by hand and indicating whether you found him. I was always a big fan of Where's Waldo? and this search will be fun for Where's Waldo fans worldwide!

On Monday, September 3, 2007, Steve Fossett , the first person to fly a plane around the world without refueling and the first person to fly around the world in a balloon went missing in Nevada. An airplane he was flying failed to return. No one has any idea where he is.

Through the generous efforts of individuals at several organizations, detailed satellite imagery has been made available for his last known whereabouts.

HITs have been created to ask volunteers to help review these images and flag potential areas of interest which will be instrumental in the search and rescue efforts.

If you are interested in helping, please click here to participate in the search effort.

This is a really cool way to use technology. Fossett made his fortune trading on the Chicago Board Options Exchange.

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