Missing MH370: Online map site uploads new hi-res satellite images of islands

PETALING JAYA - Tomnod, the online map site used by millions of netizens to search for the missing MH370, has been expanded to the Straits of Malacca and the Indian Ocean.

According to its Twitter handle, Tomnod uploaded new high-resolution satellite images of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands as well as parts of the Indian Ocean on Saturday.

This came as Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak confirmed on Saturday that the missing flight flew westwards across Peninsular Malaysia before it disappeared off primary radar screens. Subsequent satellite data suggested that the plane either flew northwards towards the Thailand-Kazakhstan corridor or southwards into the open stretches of the Indian Ocean.

With this information, the multinational search-and-rescue operation for MH370 has shifted its focus from the South China Sea to the Indian Ocean, with the number of countries taking part now swelling to 25.

Managed by the US-based satellite company Digital Globe, Tomnod was said to have had more than three million participants, with more than 190 million views since the MH370-specific online search was launched on March 10.

Previously, Tomnod's search area covered 24,000sq km of the Gulf of Thailand and the South China Sea. Now, 14,000sq km of area west of Peninsular Malaysia has been added to the online service.

"(The) search area is constantly changing as more info is coming to light," its Twitter handle said.

A CNN news report said Tomnod volunteers in November 2013 tagged over 60,000 objects of interest based on images in the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines, and this information was then forwarded to emergency responders.

Objects found by Tomnod users are tagged for scrutiny under four categories - oil markers, wreckage, rafts and miscellaneous.

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