Help build a Realtime Environmental Sensor Network

submission by seanbonner

About Your Organization

Organization name(s):


Organization website:

Organization Twitter handle:


Organization Facebook page:

Organization Instagram:


Describe your organization (check only one):

Nonprofit organization

For-profit organization



Please describe yourself (check only one):

Solo actor (just us on this project!)

Proposed collaboration (we want to work with partners!)

Collaboration (partners are signed up and ready to hit the ground running!)

In one sentence, please describe your idea or project.


We have a prototype network up and running in Fukushima Japan now, want to launch full network in Los Angeles.

Please write a sample tweet to describe your submission.


Hoping to build out a realtime environmental monitoring sensor network in Los Angeles!

Does your project impact Los Angeles County? Check only one.

Yes (benefits all of LA County)

Yes (benefits a region of LA County)

Yes (benefits a population of LA County)


Which area(s) of LA does your project benefit? Check all that apply.

Central LA

East LA

South LA

San Gabriel Valley

San Fernando Valley

South Bay



What is your idea/project in more detail?


Started in response to the Fukushima meltdown in 2011 - In 3 years Safecast has built the most trusted citizen monitoring network for radiation data in the world, with the largest open data set ever. Our network of mobile sensors is tried and tested, and we're now building out a static realtime network and adding other environmental data to that - air quality, weather, etc. We have a prototype network up and running now, but would love to deploy a full network in Los Angeles as the first US initiative.

What will you do to implement this idea/project?


Finalize the production version of our sensors, secure locations then purchase, build and deploy sensors around Los Angeles.

How will your idea/project help make LA the healthiest place to live today? In 2050?


With our radiation data we changed the established method of reporting data as huge averages to giving pinpoint data down to a specific GPS location, giving people the very granular data they needed and were unable to get anywhere else. We're hoping to do the same thing for air quality and other environmental data so right now Angelenos can get very vague data - air in LA is OK today, air in LA is bad today - etc. Our sensors and network will change that and tell people exactly what is different street to street, moment to moment. Imagine being able to plan a run or bike ride specifically down streets with better air quality at the least polluted times of the day. Imagine being able to pinpoint pollution sources and make changes to correct these problems at the source.

Whom will your project benefit? Please be specific.


Individuals who are interested in their environment, researchers who need concrete data for their work, and policy/government who currently have limited data with which to make decisions.

Please identify any partners or collaborators who will work with you on this project.


For Los Angeles we won't need any partners to deploy this.

How will your project impact the LA2050 "LIVE" metrics?

Access to healthy food

Healthcare access

Exposure to air toxins

Number of households below the self-sufficiency standard

Percent of imported water

Obesity rates

Rates of homelessness

Walk/bike/transit score

Acres and miles of polluted waterways

Rates of mental illnesses

Prevalence of adverse childhood experience (Dream Metric)

Percentage of LA communities that are resilient (Dream Metric)

Percentage of residents receiving coordinated healthcare services (Dream Metric)

Percentage of tree canopy cover (Dream Metric)


Please elaborate on how your project will impact the above metrics.:

By giving people the best data about their environment making changes for the better of the entire region becomes easy.

Please select which other LA2050 Goals are relevant to your project or organization (check all that apply):

LA is the best place to CREATE

LA is the best place to PLAY

LA is the best place to CONNECT

LA is the best place to LEARN

Please explain how you will evaluate your project.


If we can deploy enough sensors to collect relevant data, if the data we collect is useful to others, if people make decisions based on our data.

What two lessons have informed your solution or project?


With Radiation monitoring in Japan we learned first hand that any data is better than no data and giving people the power to collect data empowers them in ways they never imagined. We also learned the value of lean and agile development -rather than making plans for 5 years from now we decide what we can do that will be most impactful today.

Explain how implementing your project within the next twelve months is an achievable goal.


Our prototype network is up and running currently, if we had confirmed funding for development of the production sensors we could put that into action. Our track record shows how fast we can move and what we can pull off, so it's really just a matter of getting the sensors in hand and putting them out in the world.

Please list at least two major barriers/challenges you anticipate. What is your strategy for ensuring a successful implementation?


We thought volunteers would be our biggest problem, but we have more volunteers and offers to help and house sensors than we know what do to do with. Our problems have consistently been getting enough hardware out to people fast enough.

What resources does your project need? (check all that apply)

Money (financial capital)

Volunteers/staff (human capital)

Publicity/awareness (social capital)

Infrastructure (building/space/vehicles, etc.)


Technical infrastructure (computers, etc.)

Community outreach

Network/relationship support

Quality improvement research

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Submission Began
Tuesday, July 01, 2014

Submission Ended
Thursday, July 31, 2014
at 07:00 PM UTC

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Voting Began
Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Voting Ended
Tuesday, September 16, 2014
at 07:00 PM UTC

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Winner Announced
Tuesday, September 30, 2014