International volunteer-centered organization
Safecast is an international, volunteer-centered organization devoted to open citizen science for the environment launched after the March 11, 2011 earthquake/tsunami which struck Japan and the subsequent meltdown of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. Safecast quickly began monitoring, collecting, and openly sharing information on environmental radiation, growing quickly in size, scope, and geographical reach. Today their data is the largest of it’s kind ever, and has recently begun to include air quality as well.
Need for real-time measurement of environmental radiation
Following the Great Eastern Japan earthquake of March 2011 and subsequent emergency at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, a global team of technologists recognized the need for accurate and readily-available real-time measurement of environmental radiation.
With the support of citizen scientists around the world, Safecast now measures and reports ambient radiation and air quality on a global basis, drawing on real-time data from sensors installed in homes and other facilities to update information 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
One major challenge to developing this device was maintaining its simplicity
In the words of Safecast Co-Founder and Japan Director Pieter Franken, “one major challenge to developing this device was maintaining its simplicity while enabling it to get online even in places with no obvious Internet access. We chose to use SORACOM Air for its ability to communicate over the mobile grid.”
This allows volunteer groups to seamlessly install sensors on their own, helping the Safecast team to scale their network with minimal installation overhead while also streamlining operations thanks to the Soracom User Console and API.
As Franken explains, “The outstanding User Console replaces what used to be various complex services we outsourced separately with a single integrated platform where we can manage devices and SIMs.”