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ECS researchers at Southampton University develop new tool to provide radiation monitoring in Japan

Published: 
16 May 2013
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People living in Japan after the Fukushima nuclear disaster can find out the radiation level in their area thanks a new tool designed by a team of researchers from the ECS research group Agents, Interaction and Complexity Group (AIC).

The Japan Nuclear Crowd Map (JNCM) intelligently combines crowdsourced nuclear radioactivity data that has been collated since the 2011 emergency when a magnitude nine Tsunami hit the North-East coast of Japan severely damaging the nuclear power plant of Fukushima-Daiichi.

More than 488,000 people were evacuated from their homes when radioactivity in the area increased by up to 1,000 times the normal level. The disaster prompted private individuals to deploy 577 Geiger counters across the country to help monitor the spread of the nuclear cloud. Recently this network was extended to another 1,023 sensors and together they have provided more than 27 million readings since the Fukushima disaster.

The JNCM platform combines all the data collected from these resources into a single database that can help users find out the radioactivity level in their area.

Matteo Venanzi, a PhD student and member of AIC, said: “The platform automatically collects raw radiation data from the online sensors and fuses the data into a single radiation map over Japan. The estimates are then shown to the users as a heat map and an intensity map, showing the average radioactivity in each area.

“Users can also search by postcode to find out the radioactivity in their neighbourhood based on the latest predictions.”

JNCM is also available for smartphones as an Android app, allowing the user to find out the radiation level at their current location and to download the radiation heat map directly onto their phone as the data is collected.

Yuki Ikumo, from AIC, who developed the JNCM Android app, said: “JNCM aims to be one of the future technologies for disaster management in which the mass participation of people will play a crucial role in community-based crowdsourcing of environmental monitoring tasks.”

The JNCM platform was developed by AIC researchers as part of the ORCHID project, based in ECS, that investigates how human and software agents can work effectively together to collect the best possible information from a disaster environment.

To find out more about the JNCM platform visit http://jncm.ecs.soton.ac.uk or download the JNCM app from Google play.

To find out more about AIC visit www.aic.ecs.soton.ac.uk

To find out more about the ORCHID project visit www.ecs.soton.ac.uk/research/projects/765

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