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Safecast: The Power of Citizen Science
Safecast: The Power of Citizen Science

[Lecture] May 1, 6:30 PM

“What Safecast proves is that all the preparation in the world-all the money in the world-still fails if you don’t have a rapid, agile, resilient system.” —Joi Ito, Director, MIT Media Lab

When the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant experienced a meltdown after the Great East Japan Earthquake in March 2011, people scrambled to get accurate data on radiation. Geiger counters were suddenly a hot commodity. In that moment of crisis, a group of global citizens rose to the occasion to launch Safecast, an open data platform to track, monitor and share data on the radiation levels in Fukushima and throughout Japan. Safecast enlisted the help of volunteers who collected the data from all over Japan, and even built its own DIY Geiger counter kit. Pieter Franken, the Co-Founder of Safecast, will look back Safecast’s evolution—a prime example of citizen science embracing open data and open source—in the last six years and the challenges that they face today as they expand their data gathering efforts beyond radiation levels.

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