|US Firm Says It Found 'Objects' in Missing Plane Search|
|By ALYSSA NEWCOMB (@AlyssaNewcomb) and CLAYTON SANDELL (@Clayton_Sandell)||Mar 20, 2014, 1:56 PM|
A Colorado satellite imaging company said today that it was their photos of a pair of objects floating in the Indian Ocean that has sent planes and ships chasing what one official called the "best lead we have right now."
After the discovery of the objects, which officials say could be from missing Malaysia Airlines flight 370, Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott called the prime minister of Malaysia to tell him about the photos.
The announcement at a news conference did not say which satellites took the pictures, but DigitalGlobe issued a statement saying that they had provided the images.
"We can confirm that DigitalGlobe has provided imagery to search officials in Australia, and we have been informed by an Australian government official that it was our imagery Prime Minister Abbott referred to in his recent comments," a spokesman for the company said.
"The satellite images were captured on March 16 by our WorldView-2 satellite at a resolution of approximately 50 cm. Working with our customers, DigitalGlobe continues to task our satellites to collect imagery of a wide area that includes the waters around where the possible debris was identified yesterday," the company said in a statement. "No conclusions have been reached about the origins of the debris or objects shown in the imagery, and we are not aware that any subsequent search missions have been able to locate it."
Here's a look at the company whose technology may have refocused -- at least for now -- the hunt for MH370.
What Is DigitalGlobe?
DigitalGlobe, headquartered in Longmont, Colo., owns and operates commercial earth imaging satellites. The company has more than 4 billion square kilometers of imagery in its archive, according to their website.
How They Make Money
DigitalGlobe runs a fee-based First Look Event Service that can compare before-and-after images for clients. In the past month, the company activated the service to observe wildfires in Australia, violence in Ukraine and the aftermath of ice storms in Atlanta.
The company went public on the New York Stock Exchange in May 2009, and trades under the ticker symbol DGI.
What They've Done So Far
Last week, Digital Globe launched an effort to crowdsource the search for flight MH370, asking the public for help analyzing high-resolution images for any sign of the missing airliner.
Anything that raises interest can be tagged for further review.
When Typhoon Haiyan struck the Philippines in November 2013, DigitalGlobe activated a global crowdsourcing campaign. The company said users placed more than 400,000 tags, identifying 38,000 damaged buildings and 101,000 damaged homes.
ABC News' Clayton Sandell contributed to this report.