It was only a matter of time until we had a decent app to track radiation from Fukushima.
Almost from the moment problems started at the Japanese nuclear power plant, the crowd was in on the action. At first it was just Webcams trained on geiger counters somewhere in Tokyo with the continuous image fed to UStream.
Then some dude from Portland got on Kickstarter and raised more than 35 grand to send more geiger counters to the country and aggregate their readings online with measurements from governments, nonprofits, and the crowd.
That last project also integrates with something called Pachube, an impressive global and crowdsourced platform for sharing real-time environmental and energy data. London-based Pachube also offers up an API and other tools for tinkerers and developers like Japan's Seigo Ishino, who created "Wind From Fukushima."
The free Android app is basically a mashup of radiation sensor readings, Google Maps, and wind data from across Japan--the result is a real-time display of not only where the radiation is right now, but also which way it's heading.
For good measure, Ishino threw in an emergency alarm, flashlight, and links to evacuation information.
Japan radiation monitoring goes crowd, open source
From Tokyo to California, radiation tracking gets crowdsourced
Nuclear-site app pinpoints plants
It's still early, but one of the big lessons from the Fukushima disaster could be that it's about time to throw out agencies like FEMA here in the United States in favor of the unlimited potential of the crowd.
(Via Pachube blog)