national

Google to photograph street views of evacuated town in Fukushima

21 Comments
By Michelle

It wasn’t just the earthquake or tsunami of March 11, 2011 that shattered the town of Namie in Fukushima Prefecture; it was the subsequent radiation. Slowly creeping across the once fertile land, it ripped families from their homes and banished them to evacuation centers elsewhere. Today, nearly two years after the nuclear disaster, the entire 86 square miles of Namie have been declared uninhabitable due to high levels of radioactive cesium. Even if families wanted to return, they can’t.

Amid this tragic loss, Google Street View is giving the people of Namie a chance to visit the town they were forced to flee.

The Street View project was requested by Tamotsu Baba, the mayor of Namie town. Baba explains in the video below, “By photographing the town and making those photographs publicly available, we can show the townspeople the condition of the streets. In addition, I want to show the world the true state of Namie.”

Photographing will take several weeks and Google hopes to make the images available to the public in the coming months. It seems that Namie, formerly described as “the forgotten town” in popular Japanese magazine, Bungei ShunjuI, will no longer be forgotten thanks to the efforts of Google and Mayor Baba.

Source: IT Media

Read more stories from RocketNews24. -- Blogger’s Troubling Insight into the Psyche of Post-Disaster Fukushima Residents -- New 3/11 Tsunami Video Captures Shifting Emotions from Behind Camera -- Fukushima Refugees Rather Gamble than Work, Claims Iwaki City Mayor

© RocketNews24

©2020 GPlusMedia Inc.

21 Comments
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Makes sense! People do need to see what has become of their town.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

So it's OK to drive around town in Namie? The cesium won't contaminate the driver or the vehicle?

1 ( +3 / -2 )

I imagine the driver will be all suited up.

Not sure about where the car will go from there though, or the expensive cameras!

0 ( +2 / -2 )

So it's OK to drive around town in Namie?

Radiation is only dangerous through prolonged exposure. That is why it is measured in per hour or per year units. Personally, I think it will be heartbreaking for these people to see their ghost towns.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

"worse" -> "worst" (note to Mods)

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Extra Virgin Palm OilMar. 08, 2013 - 04:43PM JST

So it's OK to drive around town in Namie? The cesium won't contaminate the driver or the vehicle?

You get caesium contamination just being on earth, due to nuclear weapons tests, refining accidents, and a dozen other reasons. If you mean significant contamination, not unless they spend two or three years there. The rates are generally below 40mSv/yr (aside from some isolated outliers), and this is using only information from 2011 (now it should be in the range of 30mSv/yr in peak places).

That does bring up a good point, since safecast data (http://map.safecast.org/map:full/140.98907738589918,37.49730089828988,15) is horribly outdated and sparse. They might as well do something productive like independently verifying radiation readings while they are there to profit off of people's losses.

-6 ( +3 / -9 )

Namie is the town I do animal rescue in, it's such a beautiful place and it breaks my heart every time we go in and there's no one there enjoying what was once an amazing place to live. The saddest time of year is definitely hanami, gorgeous blooms everywhere, and not a soul to celebrate it. It's wonderful to know that these people, and the world, will be able to at least slightly enjoy it again.

P.S. I have been into Namie many times and 1. the mSv/hr is around 5-10 in most of this area 2. the driver will be fine, even if he gets out and walks around for awhile and 3. it isn't quite a ghost town, at least 5 residents that I know personally still live there with their pets (they feel it's better then living in a temp shelter and letting their animals be homeless)

Basroil: safecast has a smartphone app that is updated quite frequently and is amazingly useful.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

uznekoMar. 08, 2013 - 11:30PM JST

safecast has a smartphone app that is updated quite frequently and is amazingly useful.

Apps for toys mean nothing without the data. Safecast hasn't taken new readings in the area since December 2011.

-6 ( +2 / -8 )

Basroil: they update very regularly, the actual Safecast volunteers don't need to go back because they have sensors set up throughout the area and also all of the counters that they donated to people logs readings back to the server. It updates at least once a week for the entire prefecture of Fukushima.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/seanbonner/safecast-x-kickstarter-geiger-counter (Kickstarter)

http://www.gizmag.com/wikisense-radiation-detector-app/20294/ (99cent iPhone geiger counter)

Safecast has the mapping but has not integrated that real-time mobile (iPhone) yet. All the tools are there and it is just a matter of time before it goes real time.

=Powerful stuff from a KickStarter projekt(z). With any data collection like this it is up to the people to support it. Lots of options for people that want to learn about radiation detection.

< http://www.radiation-watch.org/p/english.html > (KickStarter) (free Android and iOS -but need to buy the sensor) (->iOS version is better of course)

Radiation-Watch is has real time mapping it seems.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Really? Cause I have the app, and the damn numbers change around once a week

1 ( +1 / -0 )

It is enlightening to see such concise and knowledgeable advice from Basroil here. But Namie is uninhabitable for good reason-it is dangerous! Wind blown deposits in cracks and crevices and other forms of deposition would mean there will be hotspots.. Whatever is measured in Namie at a particular spot could be widely different a few steps away. All of us have different radiation tolerances-giving a blanket view of what is dangerous for all is misleading.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

@unzeko -any chance that you could rescue Basroiil?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

why don't google take a photo of all the android users who have suddenly realized that that google has installed the "google play services " application on their phone without their approval?

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

uznekoMar. 09, 2013 - 12:20AM JST

Really? Cause I have the app, and the damn numbers change around once a week

Just double checked by downloading their 1gb file of data points, nothing within a five kilometer radius of Namie station according to the GPS coordinates. Perhaps they are pooling random other sources, but without knowing if those sources follow standard protocol it would be counter-productive to believe those points. I would suggest sticking to data that has followed proper procedures when measuring radiation, especially the 1 meter rule.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

I would suggest sticking to data that has followed proper procedures when measuring radiation, especially the 1 meter rule.

You really need a meter and a badge when you get into these radioactive areas. And what about foods you eat?

=people should just buy a meter and support the collective data monitoring. I like the cellphone data monitoring like http://www.radiation-watch.org/p/english.html

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Mobile real-time radiation monitoring is another example of cell-phone computing doing what dinosaur desktop computing cannot do it seems.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

badsey3Mar. 09, 2013 - 12:46AM JST

You really need a meter and a badge when you get into these radioactive areas. And what about foods you eat?

=people should just buy a meter and support the collective data monitoring. I like the cellphone data monitoring like http://www.radiation-watch.org/p/english.html

You proved my point by entirely missing the point. People don't know how to use counters (they aren't meters, since there's no flow measured), and they have no idea about the 1 meter rule for measurements, which means to measure from one meter away, not to use one counter. Too many people ignore the rule and create "hotspots" where none exist. Standards exist to ensure the data is useful, but the average cellphone toting activist won't actually follow procedure, and those devices make no effort to ensure the measurements follow protocol (easy enough to include an ultrasonic sensor or similar)

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

Until we can all afford Scintillation counters and Cherenkov detectors I guess people will need to use and correlate the detected radioactive particle information with free apps using the built-in cell photo-diodes.

Taylor Ramon Wilson (born May 7, 1994) is an American nuclear scientist who was noted in 2008 for being the youngest person in the world (at age 14) to build a working fusor.[1] The U.S. Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Department of Energy offered federal funding to Wilson concerning research Wilson has conducted in building inexpensive Cherenkov radiation detectors; [1] Traditional Cherenkov detectors usually cost hundreds of thousands of dollars (USD)[dubious – discuss], while Wilson invented a working detector that cost a few hundred dollars.[1] In May 2011, Wilson entered his radiation detector in the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair against a field of 1,500 competitors and won a $50,000 award.[1][2]

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Back on topic please.

I am the author of the Safecast iOS app and wanted to clarify a few things here:

Data Sources: For the Safecast map layers I am using the same CSV another poster indicated he downloaded. There are no additional data sources going into those layers.

Methodology: the points are projected and binned at Web Mercator tile level 13 (19m/pixel resolution). The Safecast interpolation layer was created using Empirical Bayesian Kriging in ArcGIS 10.1 at a resolution of 153m (tile level 10). EBK accounts for statistical error and can mitigate older outliers based off newer data in close proximity to it.

Also, in the new update (1.6.4) pending approval by Apple at the time of this posting, the binning process is selective for the more recent 270 days in each bin, creating more of a bias for newer data. (excluding older data altogether produced disappointing results)

Updating: I have code written that is capable of downloading, parsing, binning, and tiling the CSV data on device. Unfortunately the speeds are prohibitive which is why this is not used, except in the iOS simulator to generate the data tiles in the app package. Server capacity and bandwidth are not available to do this centrally either which would be my preferred solution.

Speaking of speed, the last EBK interpolation I did took 244 hours. (i7 3770k @ 4ghz)

Data Gathering: I am not involved in this. My understanding is there is a police presence in the exclusion zone and this may be a determining factor affecting the temporal resolution of that data.

Live Static Sensor Networks: I am currently working to support this on-device but it is still in development. My initial plans are for downloads of both Safecast and MEXT data.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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