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Editor's Blog

Founding InternetSAR.org has caused my absence

By Kenneth Barbalace
[Friday, December 28, 2007]

Yes it has been a long time since I posted a new blog article on our editor's blog and there is a reason for this. As some may recall I wrote a couple of articles about my participation in the Internet search for Steve Fossett, which was being hosted by Amazon's Mechanical Turk. After Amazon called off their Internet search effort there was a core group of us who did not want to see the knowledge we had gained get lost. As such we began discussing what was needed to run a successful "crowdsourcing" effort to analyze imagery. Out of those discussions I began to develop tools to analyze imagery based on what we thought was needed. In the middle of November I registered the domain InternetSAR.org, and began to build a website for the tools I was developing. Quite literally from the time I get up until the time I go to bed, the vast majority of my time for the past two months has been totally consumed by what has become InternetSAR.org.

On December 5, 2007, we reached a milestone with our efforts to bring InternetSAR.org to life when we were given permission to use imagery from the Steve Fossett search effort that had not been previously released on the Internet. This gave us a starting point to really flush out the tools and work out the bugs. On the same day an individual who is part of a search effort to locate missing pilot Ron Boychuk in British Columbia Canada contacted me asking if we could use InternetSAR.org to help their search effort. After working out some technical issues we were finally able to start our search mission for Ron Boychuk on December 24, 2007.

What has been built so far is simply the foundation of what I hope this new site to become. There is a great deal of programming that still needs to be completed with InternetSAR.org and I suspect it will be a work in progress for a long time to come. The mission of InternetSAR.org is to develop and promote the use of the Internet to conduct collaborative analysis of aerial and satellite imagery during search and rescue operations to help locate down or missing aircraft or vessels. In the first quarter of 2008 I am planning on incorporating a nonprofit organization around InternetSAR.org so that it can become a formal organization that is able to accept tax deductible contributions. My hope is turn InternetSAR.org into a truly efficient set of tools and processes that can become a cost effective and highly productive aid to search and rescue efforts.

This new organization will draw much of my attention for the next few months, but now that the core of the website has been completed I can start to return some of my attention to EnvironmentalChemistry.com. In fact, I have two new articles that are in the final stages of copy editing, which I will be publishing in January.

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