Noise Mapping England Pt2

May 19, 2008

The much anticipated Noise Maps version 2 was released by our favorite government agency, DEFRA, last week. This version includes a noise source filter (road, rail, industry and air) – which ‘kind of’ works – and day and night switch. The maps spread beyond London to ‘agglomerations’ of over 250,000 people…everyone else will have to wait until 2012  for round two  – or make do with pdf of ‘major roads’ and airports.

DEFRA are at pains to point out that “No actual noise measurements have been made in the production of these strategic maps” (i.e. the maps are generated from computer modelled audio data) no doubt triggered by our scandalous assertions in previous noise-mapping posts.

(image: a succinct explanation of Upper Leytonstones noise levels…)

The maps are “only intended to be used for strategic assessment of noise levels in any given area” and definitely not for finding out how noisy your house is, or how noisy a house is that you intend to rent/buy – though i suspect that 99% of user will be doing just that. Defra’s data would be perfect for some kind of audio-visualisation mash-up; generating a composition from urban audio isobars – any hackers out there willing to give it a go?

One Response to “Noise Mapping England Pt2”

  1. in the recent ‘science of sleep’ thing at the welcome foundation, they had one of these up on the wall – our flat was bang in the middle. DEFRA’s data came from the ‘atmospheric emissions database’. so we have (if my reading of this is correct) a map of acoustic emissions, extrapolated from average traffic volumes, extrapolated from average pollution levels. a more flawed method of evaluating the acoustic environment is difficult to imagine. not that the bastards who ride around soho on low-polluting but very very loud motorbikes at 2 in the morning, while revving their engines seem to mind…they don’t exist right?

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