This is more of a “lessons learned” project. It has been done before the MakeOpenData 2011, but might still be interesting. Also, its a good reason to publish the corresponding scraper source code.

In the wake of Fukushima the Japanese government did not publish enough radiation data. Makers around @kotobuki and @freaklabs began uploading DIY geiger counter measurements to Pachube, an open sensor data platform. The website created by the same people uses this data to display a map with sensor readings. More and more citizens began measuring such data or scraping official Web sites. The crowd sourced radiation data is probably not as accurate as official measurements, but a lot more information is available today than before Geigermaps and there is a sense of control no matter if the government decides to publish or hide its data.

A bit later, @haiyan and @pachube called for contributions to an european version of Geigermaps. She implemented the Web site and others provided the data. Here are the lessons learned from contributing the data for Switzerland. Measurements were scraped form the HTML of a government Web site, converted to µSv/h and uploaded to one Pachube feed per measuring station. The location of the station was also added to the feed. And each feed carries the tag sensor:type=radiation which allows Geigermaps to find the relevant feeds.


- distributed, common platform enables collaboration
- loosely coupled integration based on open standards
- as long as everybody sticks to conventions, tools don't matter
- open, everybody can contribute by tagging feeds appropriately


- take care to use the same units (we had false “alarms” because of this)
- unclear legal situation, government data is published, but no license to re-publish/use the data
- nobody feels responsible for overall data quality and service uptime, initially not a problem, but on the long run

  • project/ch_euro_geigermaps.txt
  • Last modified: 2013/08/15 23:06
  • by loleg