Question: What resources are available to help people monitor noise pollution?

stevie asked on December 19, 2017 22:08
331 | 3 answers | #15396

There is a community here in New Orleans that has been plagued with a 6 lane highway overhead that has physically divided their community. Among other environmental and human health concerns, they face a lot of noise pollution from the interstate. They are interested in being able to document this issue. I'm wondering if anyone knows of resources available to help explore this issue?


I know there was a project done by Extreme Citizen Science. @Cindy_ExCites do you have any ideas or advice?

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These are great! @primack more information on the apps would be great. Could you post some more about it in the answers below? Anything from Muki's soundscapes post stick out to you? Is it similar to what you found in your work? These responses bring up a couple more questions for me I'll post now. Thanks so much - really helpful!

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3 Answers

Here's an answer that came in from Yonit Yogev via email:

"Suggest checking with the National Park Service. Most of the wild land national parks have sound monitoring programs. They could be of help."

Also from Caren Cooper of SciStarter: "...Sound Around Town. We have adapted commercial recording units (Roland-05) and developed calibration devices so that participants in the project can borrow the equipment from local libraries and deploy in their backyards according to a specific protocol. The data will improve the NPS national soundscape maps (which need refinement but are already useful for studies of noise as an EJ issue (e.g., this new study -"

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You can monitor noise with a smartphone. Some apps also give you the time and location, and allow you to export the data via email. This provides clear documentation of noise levels. I can provide more information and examples if anyone is interested. Richard Primack

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From Muki Haklay: Check Antonella Radicchi blogpost on the range of apps from last year . Antonella’s Hush City app is quite comprehensive soundscape data collection tool.

Christian Nold also developed a DIY noise monitoring that he’s deploying around Heathrow

Chunming Li, from the Chinese Academy of Science (who been with us at ExCiteS for the past year), developed an app for evaluating soundscapes -

There is also NoiseTube, one of the very first apps that was developed

There are issues with the calibration of phones with these apps, which was an issue in some of the work that we’ve done few years ago, so I would also think that you can use class I noise meters (they’re not super expensive – about £50 One option for the Public Lab community is to get one or two of those, and hack them so it’s possible to store the data (models with data storage cost much more), so that can be an idea…

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