Noise pollution mapping

2016 – More than 340.000 people in Cologne are exposed to noise > 50 db(A) from streets, traintracks, airports, industry and harbors at night (10pm – 6 am). During the day this number is even higher. Though the sources of the noise are easy to pin-point it is quite hard to map it’s spread.

To gather this data a standalone microcontroller device is used. Using this data from throughout the whole day location data of noise can be collected in almost real-time.

Due to the simplicity and low cost of the device a whole network of similar devices is possible. In this network data is collected and stored on many devices throughout the city. Once the measurements are collected via smartphone (bring the smartphone near device) the data is tagged with metadata (from the smartphone) to add location and verify time.

The data is then uploaded, processed and plotted into maps. The result is an almost real-time analysis of urban noise pollution realized with minimal cost and existing infrastructure. The data can be used to make informed decisions on location specific noise levels.

App prototype to visualize a use case. Displaying average level of noise pollution to spot quiet neighborhoods.