Crowd-sourcing aids Japan crisis

Man using a Geiger counter
Image caption Users wishing to contribute to the site will need to buy radiation detection equipment

People living close to the stricken Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant in Japan are collaborating to plot local radiation levels.

The website allows people to submit their own radiation readings and maps them alongside official data.

It is one of several so-called crowd-sourcing initiatives set up in the wake of the devastating earthquake and tsunami.

Another website,, also offers similar information.

To contribute to the RDTN site people will have to purchase a radiation detection device and the site directs people to four sources of such equipment.

Readings submitted to the site suggest that radiation levels of between 0.178 - 0.678 microsieverts per hour can be detected in and around Onuma Hitachi City that lies south of Fukushima.

Progress appears to be being made to restore power to the Fukushima Daiichi plant although, according to official sources, the situation remains very serious.

Villagers living nearby have been told not to drink tap water due to higher levels of radioactive iodine.

Other efforts to pool advice on how to cope with the disaster include new pages on The Global Innovations Commons, a site which compiles out-of-date patents.

It includes dozens of patents related to cooling down reactors from companies such as Hitachi and Siemens.

There is also information which could help with the rebuilding efforts, including water filtration technologies, shelter and building techniques and tsunami warning systems.

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