I wish that all those people on that flight were with us, and maybe they still are, as I like to think they are on an island somewhere waiting to us to find them ... however, it does not look good...

Recently, a spy plane searching for possible remnants of Malaysian Flight 370 took this photo:

enter image description here

However they cannot tell what this is an image of, floating in the sea.

I was wondering, what image processing techniques might us in the DSP community utilize here to better ascertain / clean up the image so that we might be able to get a better picture?

The waves of the ocean would seem to contribute to high-frequency components, so perhaps nulling the high frequency fourier co-efficients in the 2D-FFT, and then inverse transforming?

What other techniques might we use? ... perhaps we can segment it while respecting shapes of big features?...

  • $\begingroup$ There are probably better images that won't be released into the public domain. $\endgroup$
    – John
    Mar 20, 2014 at 21:55

1 Answer 1


There's little chance of getting any useful info from that one photo.

What would help is to have a series of photos. With a series, even all from the same angle, one could average out the moving waves and align the suspected object. It would be interesting to see if the object is tilting, bobbing up and down, or otherwise moving.

Images from different angles would help determine the 3D shape of the object, and determine if it's on the water surface, partially submerged, or entirely under but near the surface.

There's unlikely to be any interesting image processing work here, just routine contrast adjustment, some smoothing out of noise, maybe a bit of sharpening.


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