Thousands volunteer to scour satellite images to help relief efforts

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - More than 4,500 people have volunteered to examine 14,000 sq km of satellite imagery collected over Nepal to help relief efforts after Saturday's earthquake killed more than 4,000 people, imagery provider DigitalGlobe Inc said.

DigitalGlobe spokesman Turner Brinton said the company captured clear imagery of the area on Monday with its WorldView-3 satellite that was being used by volunteers to tag damaged buildings, roads and other areas to help disaster teams on the ground.

The company, based in Longmont, Colorado, said it had made its high-resolution imagery of the affected areas available to relief groups and others responding to the devastating 7.9-magnitude earthquake.

The company also has a subscription service that provides emergency management and humanitarian workers with fast, web-based access to images captured before and after the earthquake.

It said it had data from April 1, 2015, that could be used to aid understanding and coordination for on-the-ground missions. "While satellite imagery on its own is useful, greater benefit comes from extracting meaningful information that can be used by first responder and recovery agencies," Mr Brinton said.

Thus far, he said the volunteers had tagged 21,975 areas for relief workers, including 3,128 damaged buildings and 1,129 damaged roads.

The company said it had also activated the crowdsourcing platform called Tomnod, which was used by more than eight million people to scour satellite images after the disappearance of Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 last year.

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.