Wednesday, October 22, 2014

The 10 Best Sound Maps

Recently there has been a trend to marry Google Maps Street View with sound recordings. The combination of 360 degree panoramas with recorded sound is an effective way for developers to represent both the aural and visual experience of locations around the world.  The Sound City ProjectNight Walk in Marseilles and Sounds of Street View are three good examples of websites which combine sound and imagery.

While the combination of Street View and sound recordings can be particularly evocative sometimes developers just want to represent the aural landscape of locations. Here then are some of the best Sound Maps from around the world:

From the insect chorus of the Borneo to the crooning baritone song of an Atlantic humpback whale, this map wants to serenade you with the sounds of nature. The Nature Soundmap is a map featuring the sounds of nature captured by professional nature recordists around the world.

Maps have always been a fascinating way to explore the globe. Satellite imagery and Street View imagery have made armchair exploring even more immersive. Add in the sounds of the monsoon in Borneo and the soundscape of the Brazilian rain-forest and you can almost imagine that you really have been transported to the other side of the world.

One of the most popular uses of interactive maps is to show how locations have changed over time. The wonderful Historypin has been mapping old vintage photographs for a few years and I've even had a go myself at mapping vintage films on my There and Then map.

The Historical London Sounds map is the first attempt I've seen at mapping vintage sound recordings. Using original BBC Radio actuality recordings the Historical London Sounds map allows you to listen to life on the street in London in the 1920's, 1930's, 1940's and 1950's.

The Audio and Acoustic Engineering Research Centre at the University of Salford wants to build a sound map of the world. To achieve this the Centre is crowd-sourcing the process of mapping the aural landscape.

Sound Around You allows users to upload sound clips to a Google Map either from the Sound Around You iPhone app or from a recording stored on your computer. One really nice feature of the Sound Around You map is the use of Google Street View. When you select a marker on the map, to listen to a submitted sound clip, where available a Street View window also opens.

Radio Aporee is another crowd-sourced map of sound recordings. Since 2006 the project has been creating a sound map allowing you to listen to sound recordings from locations around the world.

Soundcities is yet another crowd-sourced database of sounds and sound maps from around the world, using found sounds and field recordings. It is possible to browse the submitted sounds by location on a Google Map. It is also possible to browse by mood. The Google Map includes a number of sound recordings made in lots of cities around the world and all the sounds can be listened to directly from the map.

The British Library Sound Maps is a nice collection of Google Maps featuring audio recordings in a number of different categories.

Users can explore traditional music on the Music from India and Traditional English Music maps. The Jewish Survivors of the Holocaust map features a number of first hand oral accounts from survivors of the Holocaust.

The British Library collection also includes sound maps of wildlife recordings and British regional accents and dialects.

If all this noise is giving you a headache then you might want to listen to the sound of silence recorded at locations around the world. The Museum of Modern Art, New York created a sound map to accompany an exhibition celebrating John Cage’s 4’33” ( commonly known as Cage's 'silent' piece).

MoMa's Share Your Silence map is a sound map of user contributed recordings of 'silence' around the world. If you want to hear how silence sounds in different locations around the world you can simply click on the map markers and listen to the submitted recordings directly from the map.
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