A tentative state of the art of applications for crowdsourced noise- & sound maps

 (C) RADICCHI_2016_Apps_SOA_infographic-web

(C) Antonella Radicchi 2016

As anticipated in the previous post, in the frame of the Beyond the Noise: Open Source Soundscapes research project I will be testing an experimental methodology based on the “open source soundscape” approach for the analyses, assessment and planning of urban quiet areas at the local scale in Berlin. A citizens-driven pilot study will be developed in the Reuterkiez and participants involved in the fieldwork activities will be asked to collect qualitative & quantitative data related to the sonic quality of the area under investigation using a mobile tool. Data collected will be then analysed and turned into web-based maps, giving information on existing quiet areas and potential new ones.

So, in order to define the ideal mobile tool to adopt for crowdsourcing data, I first reviewed the literature and I also asked for feedback via social network. The latter method was very rewarding and I would like to thank very much the scholars and the members of the Acoustic Ecology & Soundscape UK mailing list for the insightful and useful feedback they gave me. Especially (in alphabetical order): Ernesto Accolti, Alessandro Altavilla, Pierre Aumond, Raquel Castro, Pınar Çevikayak Yelmi, Adam Craig, Peter Cusack, Milena Droumeva, Felicity Ford, Joaquín Gutiérrez Hadid, Per Hedfors, Christina Higgins, Eiman Kanjo, Josh Kopecek, Barry Truax, Jacqueline Waldock.

Then I selected the applications & the related research projects according to the following criteria:
– Participatory applications;
– Crowsourced collection of qualitative and quantitative data related to the sonic environment;
– Crowdsourced representation of the data via web-based maps.

Finally, I organized and represented them via the infographic shown in the image above according to the following criteria:
– Release date: the timeline goes from the left to the right and it shows at a glance when the applications were released;
– Kind of technology applied: the timeline turns into a reference point for organizing the applications according to the kind of technology applied. Above the timeline are placed applications which run on audio-recording softwares, and below the timeline are placed applications which run on noise measuring softwares;
– Availability on the market: The applications’ logos were slightly modified to communicate at a glance the availability of the applications on the market. We have: applications that are not yet or not more available on the market and off-the-shelf applications.

An exception to these criteria is represented by the Favourite Sounds project: it is not a mobile application, however it is the very first participative sound map. The Favourite Sounds project started verbally, on paper and as a collection of sound recordings in 1998 by the sound artist and researcher Peter Cusack (UK) with “the aim to discover, and celebrate, what people value about the soundscapes of the cities, towns and neighborhoods where they live and work”. The online map appeared in 2009 in its prototype version and it was created during the Positive Soundscapes Project (2006-2009). The current version first appeared in 2010.

Below, you will find the applications listed in alphabetical order. Links to the websites as well as credits are provided.

  1. AudioSpook was designed by the Spanish Salva Domingo. Access only by invitation as of August 2016.
  2. CART-ASUR was developed in France by the Software Lab of the Languages de l’Université de Bruxelles (VUB) in collaboration with the MRTE Lab of the University of Cergy Pontoise in the frame of the research project CartASUR (2012-2016) funded by the ADEME – Agence de l’Environnement et de la Maîtrise de l’Energie.
  3. CITI-SENSE was conceived in the frame of the EU funded CITI-SENSE research project (2012-2014) developed by a consortium of 29 partner Institutions led by Tecnalia.
  4. Ear-Phone was developed in 2013 by Prof. Rajib Rana at the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), Australia’s National Science Agency.
  5. Geluidenjager was developed in the Netherlands by Johan Oomen & Maarten Brinkerink (Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision) and Thijs van Exel (Kennisland).
  6. I-SAY was developed by Dr. Charlie Mydlarz in the frame of the Sounds Around You project started in 2007 at the Audio and Acoustic Engineering Research Centre at the University of Salford (UK).
  7. NoiseSpy was conceived by Dr Eiman Kanjo at the Computer Laboratory University of Cambridge (UK).
  8. Noise Watch was developed by the European Environmental Agency. As of August 2016, it is available only as web-mapping application.
  9. Noise Tube was initially developed at the Sonic Computer Science Lab in Paris. It is currently maintained by the Software Languages Lab at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel.
  10. NoTours was developed by collective Escoibar.
  11. Radio Aporee was developed by the sound artist and researcher Udo Noll.
  12. Recho was developed by the Danish designer Åsmund Sollihøgda and the Danish transmedia-producer Mads Damsbo.
  13. Record the Earth was developed by the US Center for Global Soundscape of Purdue University in the frame of the citizen science project Record the Earth.
  14. SoundCity was developed in the frame of the Sense2Health project by the CityLab@Inria – the French National Institute for computer science .
  15. Soundscape Characterization Tool is based on a research approach developed  by Per Hedfors, Division of Landscape architecture, Dept. Urban and Rural Development, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU) Uppsala.
  16. Soundsslike is an application not yet available on the market. As of August 2016, it is available only as a web-mapping application: the Soundsslike map – created by by Pınar Çevikayak Yelmi in the frame of her doctoral project: The Soundscape of Istanbul. The sound map is developed by Hüseyin Kuşcu.
  17. Stadklang2015 is an application not yet available on the market. As of August 2016 it is available only as a web-mapping application. It was developed in the frame of the 2015 Year of Science in Germany by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and the German Science in Dialogue (WiD).
  18. Stereopublic was developed by the sound artist Jason Sweeney.
  19. The Quiet Walk is an application not more available on the market. It was developed by the Italian sound artist and researcher Alessandro Altavilla and by the UK artist and researcher Tom Schofield.
  20. The Noise App was developed by the UK private company Noise Nouisance.
  21. Think About Sound was developed by a team led by Adam Craig of the Glasgow Caledonian University in the frame of his doctoral research project: Glasgow 3D soundmap.
  22. UrbanRemix is an application not more available on the market. It was developed by collective UrbanRemix.
  23. WideNoise was developed by the Italian private company CPS in the frame of the EU funded EVERYAWARE project.

This tentative list along with the infographic constitutes the basis to publish a more comprehensive and detailed paper. If you have feedback, comments or questions please don not hesitate to contact me.
I will be happy to discuss it further with you!

PS. I presented an updated list and infographic at Invisible Places 2017: these data will be published on the Proceedings of the conference and shared also here. Stay tuned!