150,000,000 Data Points

Last month we passed a pretty significant milestone, surpassing 150 Million data points in our public domain dataset. It was 2 years after launching when we hit 10 Million and 3 more years until we reached 50 million. To triple that in 4 years, half a year shy of our 10th anniversary is very exciting.

Over the last 9 years our radiation monitoring efforts have proven to be an excellent proof of concept of the value of communities sharing open data. We’ve inspired the creation of other like minded projects and encouraged existing initiatives to open up their data. We’ve provided materials for new research and better understanding of both our environment and how people can work together towards a shared goal. We’ve shown that there’s a need for open data like this, and that locking down devices or bricking them doesn’t need to be the norm. We’ve demonstrated that the work of a relatively small group of people can have huge implications, creating long lasting benefits for the entire world. If we’ve done all this correctly, we’ve tried to show how others can do the same.

However you can’t embark on something new and untested while traveling a traditional path, and because of our approach we’ve never fit into traditional funding models. Most funders and grantors don’t understand us, or what we’re trying to do. That’s fine because we were lucky early on to find some who did and we’ve been able to spend the vast majority of our time working on our mission, not worrying about how we’re going to fund it. Earlier this year I talked about how that created some unfair dependencies and how we’d like to move to a more community funded model. A number of people graciously contributed which was wonderful to see, though unfortunately within days of making that request COVID-19 brought much of the world to a standstill. Industry-wide we’ve seen foundations and grantors tighten their belts and postpone check writing until 2021 at the earliest. Those donations we received in February helped more than we could have imagined.

As we make our way towards the end of the year I have a much more humble ask. Safecast is an example of the few helping the many, but now we need the help of many as well. Small dollar recurring donations are a new thing for us, but the idea is that they provide a wonderful safety net allowing us to know that each month we’ll have money coming in to cover some basic costs. Our server and hosting bills are about $1500 a month, thanks to a number of people who make recurring donations we currently receive just over $300 each month. At this time we want to ask our community to step in as funders. If you can, will you consider making a recurring monthly donation of $25? If 50 people reading this can commit to this then we’ll have enough each month to cover our hosting bills to keep our sites and data online. If you’d be willing to join with us, please visit our donation page and choose the monthly option.