Thursday, September 24, 2020

Mapping Noise Pollution with Noise

Noisy City is an audible data visualization of noise pollution in the Belgium city of Brussels.

Like most noise pollution maps Noisy City uses a heat map model to visualize the intensity of the noise pollution in different locations. However what I really like about Noisy City is that it also uses real noise to indicate the levels of noise pollution in different parts of the city. Hover over a location on the map and turn on your speakers and you can listen to a representation of the noise levels at that spot in Brussels.

Using real noise to help convey the levels of noise pollution found around the Belgium capital is a clever idea. I also like the animated noise meter which reveals the number of decibels of noise pollution which can be found at each selected location.

One in every four people in Europe live near a road which is responsible for noise levels in excess of 55 decibels. The NOISE Observation & Information Service for Europe map allows you to explore the levels of noise pollution across the continent. The interactive map provides an overview of the levels of noise pollution created by road traffic, railways, airports and industry.

The NOISE map allows you to explore noise pollution levels from four separate sources. Using the map sidebar you can navigate to explore noise levels across Europe from roads, rail, airports or industry. Each of these four separate noise pollution maps provide you with an overview of average noise levels for locations across Europe during the day or at night.

If you click on a location on the NOISE map you can discover the number of people exposed to average noise levels of 55 dB or higher for the selected source of noise pollution. The map will also tell you how many people in the selected country are exposed to noise levels of 55db or above.

The OSM Global Noise Pollution Map uses OpenStreetMap data to estimate the levels of noise pollution across the world. At the heart of the OSM Global Noise Pollution Map is the very clever but simple idea of assigning noise pollution levels based on OpenStreetMap tags.

Map features in OpenStreetMap are assigned a tag which describe what has been mapped. These tags can also be assigned a value. For example all roads are tagged 'highway' but are also assigned a value such as 'motorway', 'secondary' or 'residential'.

The OSM Global Noise Pollution Map use these tags and values to assign a noise pollution level based on general assumptions. For example highway, trunk, primary and secondary roads are deemed to be noisier than normal street or service roads. The OSM Global Noise Pollution Map also assumes that other mapped features, such as railways and retail & industrial zones, will also generate different levels of noise pollution.

No comments: