Colloquium

A Case Study In Public Data Release: Flight Path of Malaysia Airlines MH370

Fri, 29 Jan 2016
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Colloquium
 
Steve Kent
Fermilab, Fate of MH370
 
A Case Study In Public Data Release: Flight Path of Malaysia Airlines MH370
 
Jan 29, 2016
 

Synopsis

On March 8, 2014, Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing lost contact with air traffic control shortly after takeoff.  The plane is believed to have been diverted onto a path that eventually lead it to crash somewhere in the South Indian Ocean. The only clues we have to its final location are a set of satellite communication signals that continued up to the end of the flight and a piece of the right wing, which washed ashore a year later.  Rather uniquely, the satellite signal communication logs have been released to the public, even though the data have not been fully analyzed by the search experts, thus allowing anyone, in parallel, to attempt their own reconstruction of the flight path. In this talk I will review the timeline of the flight and the details of the satellite communications system, describe the public data products that have been released and the analyses that have been done to date, and finally discuss lessons learned about a public data release.