December 11, 2013 10:29 December 11, 2013 10:29 December 11, 2013 10:29
Another milestone for us today – this one quite significant. Until now we’ve been able to measure the exclusion zone around the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Plant but we haven’t been inside the actual grounds – having quite literally run into the gates around the facility. This week some of our volunteers were able to bring a bGeigie on a tour inside the gates and around the plant. For obvious reasons we’d expect incredibly high readings here and that’s what we see – some places reaching over 38,000 cpm / 116 μSv – that’s really hot.
Keep in mind these readings were taken outside of the buildings – there are a number of places inside that are still completely off limits to anyone except robots that are likely orders of magnitude higher than this. We’re hoping to have more readings from inside soon, stay tuned. A few more photos after the jump.
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December 11, 2013 10:10 December 11, 2013 10:10 December 11, 2013 10:10
Safecaster Ryan recently put on his heavy coat and took a trip to Antarctica, brining along a trusty bGeigie and took these readings - making it official that Safecast has measured all seven continents! Nothing scary or unexpected here – everything is around 40 to 50 cpm / 0.11 to 0.13 μSv - but exciting to check off this accomplishment.
December 5, 2013 08:33 December 5, 2013 08:33 December 5, 2013 08:33
As you may have heard the exclusion (evacuation) zone around the Fukushima Daiichi plant continues to be adjusted to allow people into areas with lower radiation levels, and move them out of areas with higher levels. There has been no easy way to see what these areas look like so Safecast volunteer Azby created this map showing the areas impacted. The pink areas are restricted, the orange and green areas were once restricted but now open for anyone to access.
Azby adds: We needed a map like this that shows road access in relation to the restricted zones, to use when planning survey trips in the area. After hunting online, asking at roadblocks and official offices, and coming up empty-handed, we concluded that unbelievable as it may seem, no such map is available. This was an easy Photoshop job, overlaying an official evacuation zone map which didn’t show roads onto a Google map. We’ve confirmed that roadblocks are in place wherever a road crosses into the pink zone.
October 2, 2013 10:53 October 2, 2013 10:53 October 2, 2013 10:53
Excited to announce that Safecast has won a prestigious Good Design Award for 2013. We’re hoping to produce a limited run of bGeigie Nano’s to commemorate the award – stay tuned for details on this.
September 18, 2013 15:15 September 18, 2013 15:15 September 18, 2013 15:15
Want to build up a bGeigie Nano from scratch? You’re gonna need a PCB, so we just posted the schematic on OSH. You can download it or order a PCB directly from them if you want to give it a shot. What’s kind of cool here is that the standard bGeigie Nano’s have blue PCBs and the ones from OSH will be purple, so it’s kind of a limited edition / status symbol if you have a purple one. Pair it up with a Yellow Pelican Micro Case and you can have an LA Lakers edition. Of course if you don’t want to source every single part yourself you can still pick up the complete kit from Medcom.
September 9, 2013 12:13 September 9, 2013 12:13 September 9, 2013 12:13
Previously the map data on the Safecast iOS app could only be updated when the app itself was updated. With the newest version that is no longer and issue and the map data can be refreshed on demand. This is huge and exciting – make sure to update the app now for the latest version!
September 6, 2013 07:58 September 6, 2013 07:58 September 6, 2013 07:58
The magi behind all things iOS in Safecast Land, Nick Dolezal, is working hard on the new version of the Safecast app (which will allow on demand refreshing of the map data) decided to whip up these alternate visualizations of the Safecast data. These maps show the frequency of samples taken – NOT READINGS OF THOSE SAMPLES – just showing how often a specific place has been measured. In this example, a location (like Fukushima) that has been measured repeatedly would show hot. Thought this was a really interesting look at the work Safecast has done over the last 2+ years.
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August 29, 2013 12:25 August 29, 2013 12:25 August 29, 2013 12:25
Ethan Zuckerman, director the Center for Civic Media at MIT and friend of Safecast posse everywhere, took a bGeigie Nano for a spin the other day with the intent of checking out some depreciated nuclear facilities not too far from his house. He was successful, at least until the armed guards showed up and told him to GTFO. He wrote an incredibly thoughtful post about his experience and some questions this might bring up – it’s worth a read.
Projects like Safecast – and the projects I’m exploring this coming year under the heading of citizen infrastructure monitoring – have a challenge. Most participants aren’t going to uncover Ed Snowden-calibre information by driving around with a geiger counter or mapping wells in their communities. Lots of data collected is going to reveal that governments and corporations are doing their jobs, as my data suggests. It’s easy to track a path between collecting groundbreaking data and getting involved with deeper civic and political issues – will collecting data that the local nuclear plant is apparently safe get me more involved with issues of nuclear waste disposal?
It just might. One of the great potentials of citizen science and citizen infrastructure monitoring is the possibility of reducing the exotic to the routine.
At Safecast, we’re incredibly lucky to have the support and attention of folks like Ethan, and we’re excited to see where this all leads as well.
July 3, 2013 18:09 July 3, 2013 18:09 July 3, 2013 18:09
A few weeks ago we gathered in Aizu with a crew of Safecast volunteers to celebrate hitting 10 million datapoints though we actually had a productive goal for the weekend as well. We held what will hopefully be the first of many bGeigie workshops based on our new bGeigie Nano kit. The idea being, get a bunch of people together in one room and build bGeigie Nano’s – and everyone can help each other along and it can be an awesome experience for everyone. Plus, it generates lots of new bGeigies to go out in the world and collect more data.
The workshop was a huge success, we built 14 bGeigies in total which is a testament to how simple and easy the new kit is to put together. Keep in mind, it used to take us a week to build 2 or 3 of these things. And some of the people building them had never soldered anything in their lives before this. Exciting to say the least. Our plan is to hold the next of these in Los Angeles sometime later this year, but ideally we’ll have them popping up all over the world soon. If you’d like to join us for the build in Los Angeles, or want to host a build in your own city – please get in touch. In the meantime you can order your own bGeigie Nano kit here for $450.
(Photos by Pieter, Jurgen and Sean.)
More photos by Pieter
June 15, 2013 23:30 June 15, 2013 23:30 June 15, 2013 23:30
So this just happened:
Actually it happened last week, and we blew past it without even noticing which point rolled it over. Officially, to date, Safecast has collected and published over 10,000,000 individual data points. That’s a huge milestone for us, and when you consider that it took us 6 months from March 11, 2011 to collect our first million, and we were just passing 4,000,000 towards the end of 2012 – this is shows how our collection efforts continue to ramp up.
Obviously a lot of this is due to our incredibly dedicated volunteers. Earlier this year one of our volunteer teams, GLC, broke 1,000,000 measurements they had collected themselves which was terribly exciting and with the recent release of our bGeigie Nano Kit which allows anyone to use the exact same hardware and system we do to collect and submit data, we only expect this to continue to speed up. We’re celebrating this milestone in Aizu at the Eyes, Japan office hosting a nano-build-a-thon where we made more nano’s in a 48 hour period than ever before. More on that soon.