Currently over 50% of the world’s population lives in urban areas. Being continuously surrounded by traffic jams, construction sites and urban events, city dwellers are typically exposed to a considerable amount of noise. NoiseTube facilitate sound measuring at any place and any time through a mobile app which exploits basic smartphone functionalities, namely microphone, wireless connectivity and localisation through GPS. Through these three components NoiseTube transforms already ubiquitous smartphones into highly portable, accessible sound measurement devices, enabling all citizens to measure ambient sound levels whenever and wherever they please.
The NoiseTube website collects all user measurements and visualises them on Google Maps. Given enough measurements for a particular area, we can construct noise maps of comparable quality to those produced by governments today, which are of a very different kind. Indeed, pollution maps are typically created through computer simulations based on general statistics, such as the average number of cars in the city. They are backed up only by limited amounts of sound measurements because current measuring methods are expensive and thus not very scalable. The resulting maps give an average but not at all a complete view on the situation, entirely missing local variations due to street works, neighbour noise &tc.
NoiseTube is user-friendly, free and open source and is used by citizens all over the world, for individual use as well as for measuring campaigns by citizen action groups. It is a tool with which citizens can estimate the quality of their daily environment and how it is affected by their behavior, and as such provides support for awareness-building as well as for undertaking bottom-up, citizen-steered actions to solve local issues.