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Mapping urban noise levels using smartphones

4 February 2010

Participatory sensingThe Sony Lab in Paris recently released a free smartphone app called NoiseTube which uses your smartphone’s microphone and GPS to measure noise levels as you walk around. This data is combined with data collected from other users in order to plot the current noise levels on a city map, a technique dubbed “participatory sensing”. Anyone can sign up to download the application and contribute data. I doubt it will really take off, but either way it’s an interesting concept that makes very clever use of crowdsourcing and repurposing of existing technology. The goal is to meet EU requirements of member countries to periodically measure noise pollution levels, but the website is open to users from any country. Currently you can view noise data for individual users (making your data public is optional) and you can download Google Earth KML data for various cities, but I’d love to see someone create a Google Maps mashup of this!

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