The wisdom of a crowd armed with radiation detection devices is helping to chart radiation readings across Japan as the country struggles to avoid a nuclear catastrophe. RDTN.ORG, built by Portland, Oregon-based Uncorked Studios, with the help of many external contributors, asks people to submit readings from their locations for posting on a Google map that aggregates the data.
RDTN is currently using data from Pachube and Marian Steinbach's Japan Radiation Open Data blog, and will add data from other "reliable" sources as they become available. The site maintains that it is not meant to replace official nuclear agencies. "Our hope is that data sets from various sources can provide additional context to the official word in these rapidly changing events," the authors stated.
Dr. Robert Gale, a well known U.S. leukemia specialist who met on Tuesday in Tokyo with the Japanese press, said that the amount of radiation dispersed so far in the atmosphere is about 1/1,000 that of Chernobyl. At this stage, the risk for cancer among the people in the country is higher from cigarette smoking, but he expressed caution regarding risks associated with food contamination.