Reacting to circumstances where information about radiation levels in Japan after the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant disaster was not readily available to the general public, in March 2011, a group of global experts self-organized to create Safecast. Initially coalescing around Sean Bonner, Los Angeles based entrepreneur, journalist, and activist, Pieter Franken, Invited Senior Researcher at Keio University, and Joi Ito, Director of MIT’s Media Lab, Safecast has become an international team working to break down the radiation information barrier in Japan. They have been doing this by deploying a fleet of mobile monitors that collect radiation data at set distance intervals during a "drive through the countryside". To learn more about the effort, watch the superb video below from the PBS NewsHour:
Collected data is then displayed using a Google base map that is viewable down to street level. Although the effort remains ongoing, to date, over one million time-sequenced readings have been collected. Additionally, because fallout intensity does not disperse in perfect concentric circles, readings are being taken from the northern tip of Honshu to well south of Tokyo. Find below two example views from this effort (click the link below either map to jump to the online version of the respective mapping application).
|Greater Fukushima Local Area - Click here to jump to live map of this information|
|1KM Street Level View shown for the Narita Airport Hilton Hotel - Click here to jump to a live map of this information|
Believing in the value of this work, on October 21, 2011, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation provided Safecast with $250,000 to continue its work in Japan and to expand efforts globally. To learn more, and/or view maps, visit the Safecast Home Page.
Comment: As related in several earlier postings on this blog, the flow of information to the general public in Japan after the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant disaster has been far less than optimal, and at times has been outright neglectful. Those posts are available here:
- The "Fallout" From Fukushima Continues (October 15, 2011)
- Anger Builds Over Radiation Forecast Maps Withheld From Japanese Public (August 10, 2011)
- In Nuclear Crisis, Crippling Mistrust (June 13, 2011)
In contrast, efforts like Safecast are a very clear warning to the worldwide Emergency Management and public sector geospatial communities. Get on board with the technology and Geospatial Revolutions, or others will be doing your job for you.