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Smart cities
Smart cities

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2.2 Safecast

A radiation symbol.
Figure 5 Thinking about safety.

Created after the 2011 Tohoku earthquake in Japan, Safecast [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] is a volunteer-driven non-profit organisation that started with the practical aim of providing communities with information about radiation levels in their local areas.

It is now a global project working to get a radiation baseline for the planet, as well as to measure other environmental factors such as air quality.

Following the earthquake the global supply of Geiger counters dried up almost instantly. The absence of a comprehensive data source on radiation levels meant that there was no way of knowing where was safe.

The Safecast platform was created by people who decided to solve the problem themselves. They built mobile radiation sensors and published the data openly. Anyone was able to use and contribute to the data, and both scientists and data-visualisation teams were free to analyse the data.

Safecast was originally funded through the crowdfunding platform Kickstarter.

You’ll find out more about crowdfunding a smart cities project later in the course.

Further reading

Find out more about the Safecast project.

View the Safecast project on Kickstarter.