Japan's Radiation Levels: Real-Time Crowd Sourcing

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Crowd sourcing is now being used to report, in real time, reliable data of Japan's radiation levels. According to the developers:

We too have been watching events unfold in Japan. We have created this site in an effort to display the reliable data readings as they become available. While we are careful to evaluate new data sources, we welcome new reliable data from those on the ground in this crisis.

Data Sources

While we hope to gather data via our own website, we recognize the efforts of others out there who are actively seeking and parsing data and making it available for others to use.

We are aware that reliable data is critical, and have carefully chosen partners in supplying information. Our map is populated with data from Pachube and Marian Steinbach. . As more reliable data sources become available, we will consider adding further sources to the site.

We'd like to thank those other sites and individuals who are providing data (for this site and others):
# Pachube.com
# Marian Steinbach
# GeigerCrowd.net
# The Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) of Japan

This is an important, innovative initiative to gather disparate data to benefit public health.

Isn't this a much more meaningful use of crowd sourcing, rather than, say, organizing huge pillow fights?

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OK, but straightaway I can see a potential problem with this: the quality of the data.

Who's to say if some of this "crowd" hasn't got their geiger counter sealed away somewhere very well protected from any passing radioactive particles?

In fact, who's to say the data comes from a proper measuring device at all?

If my livelihood depended on people investing in nuclear technologies, I could easily flood the site with my own "crowd" giving the readings I would like people to see. And going by the record of the tobacco and energy industries in deliberately flooding the media with invented and misleading data, I would be surprised if sites such as this one escaped paid nuke industry PR-merchants' attention for too long.

By Vince whirlwind (not verified) on 21 Mar 2011 #permalink

I'm disappointed by the complete lack of content in this post. All you did was quote someone else verbatim, declare it "important", and then take a pot shot at people having a mass pillow-fight.

What does that comparison add to the conversation?

Does a mass pillow-fight detract from the viability of crowd-sourcing radiation readings?

Can't both co-exist with the need for commentary on a science blog?

By Pete Forde (not verified) on 26 Mar 2011 #permalink