Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Hundreds of Japanese citizens are engaged in a crowd-sourced effort to measure Fukushima radiation

Nice article at Yes! Magazine by Erika Lundahl about Safecast, the citizen radiation monitoring in Japan: Measuring Fukushima's Impact: How Geeks and Hackers Got Geiger Counters to the Masses: Hundreds of ordinary people are contributing to a crowd-sourced effort to measure Fukushima's impact:
Hundreds of ordinary people are contributing to a crowd-sourced effort to collect data on radiation levels for scientists and ordinary citizens to use and interpret. The project was launched by SafeCast, an organization formed in the wake of the 2011 earthquake to supplement the sparse data provided by the Japanese government on radiation travel patterns.

"We were completely appalled that there was no way to get this data," SafeCast co-founder Sean Bonner said, "and that people couldn't see what was happening to their environment."

Through online collaboration with scientists and programmers, Bonner and his collaborators engineered an easily reproducible and highly accurate GPS-enabled Geiger counter, which they call the bGeigie. They distributed the first batch of 100 to volunteers who crisscrossed Japan in cars, delivery vehicles, and on foot, collecting data on radiation unmatched in scope and accuracy. To make the information from the bGeigies widely available, SafeCast publishes copyright-free maps of the readings that come in from the devices.

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