Tuesday, June 07, 2022

The Noise of the City

Noisy Cities is an interactive map which visualizes noise pollution in New York, Paris and London.

Noisy Cities isn't just a mapped visualization of noise pollution. It is also a mapped sonification of noise pollution. These interactive maps of New York, Paris and London don't just use a heat map layer to visualize the average levels of road traffic and aircraft noise. If you turn on your speakers and hover over the map you can actually hear an audible representation of the noise pollution at any location. Move your mouse around and the traffic noise increases and decreases in volume based on the background traffic noise pollution.

Noisy Cities was inspired by Karim Douieb's 2020 interactive map Noisy City. Noisy City is an audible data visualization of noise pollution in the Belgium city of Brussels.

Like the New York, Paris and London maps the Belgium map visualizes average levels of noise pollution using a heat map layer. Like Noisy Cities it also uses real noise to indicate the levels of noise pollution in different parts of Brussels. Using real noise to help convey the levels of noise pollution is a really nice idea. I also really like the animated noise meters which are used on these noise pollution maps to reveal the number of decibels of noise pollution which can be found across all four cities.

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