NoiseTube: assessing noise pollution
Publication date 24.01.2012
Today, over 50% of the world’s population lives in cities. Continuously surrounded by traffic jams and construction sites, city dwellers are exposed to high levels of noise.
To assess the distribution of noise pollution in urban areas, the VUB’s BrusSense research team proposes NoiseTube, a project initiated by Sony Computer Science Lab Paris in 2008. NoiseTube enables citizens to measure noise levels whenever and wherever they please via a mobile app that transforms smartphones into portable, accessible sound level meters by leveraging their microphone, wireless connectivity and localization capabilities.
User measurements are uploaded on the NoiseTube website where they are visualized on Google Maps. Given enough individual measurements, we can construct noise maps of comparable quality to those produced by governments today, which rely on general statistics, such as the average number of cars, and only very little on actual sound measurements, entirely missing local variations due to neighborhood noise, etc.
NoiseTube is user-friendly, free and open source and already used by more than 1000 people in around 500 cities across the world. By allowing citizens to assess the quality of their daily environment and how it is affected by their behavior, NoiseTube supports awareness-raising and bottom-up actions to solve local noise pollution issues.