Noise Maps

Promoted by Bit Lab Cultural

Role and tasks at Bitlab

Coordination and implementation of the project

Sound Maps allows citizens to generate and analyze urban sound data, which allows communities to take measures to reduce unwanted noise and protect the local sound heritage.

Noise Maps ia a citizen science project in the neighborhoods. The project develops a combination of proven techniques and methods with a new approach, to empower communities with the power of citizen science to meet local challenges of global relevance. From a technological point of view, it fuses a versatile citizen science sensor (AudioMoth), with high-definition sound recorders, and advanced artificial intelligence techniques (developed by the UPG MTG research group) for automatic data analysis. sonorous from MTG-UPF. From the point of view of methodology, the pilot draws on existing cultural practices of collective documentation of the sound heritage of neighborhoods (Sound Map), to launch a process of citizen science through which unwanted noise can be filtered from the set of unique, authentic and local sounds of the neighborhood, thus allowing communities to take measures to preserve their sound heritage. At a technological level, the sounds that make up the neighborhoods will be automatically classified, collaboratively generating sound maps where the evolution of the origin and volume of sounds in public space can be documented. In this way, new communication mechanisms will be generated with the administration to live in healthier cities on a sonic level.

The pilot will also create public awareness of noise pollution, a serious problem related to health problems (lack of sleep, psychological ailments, cardiovascular diseases, higher stroke risk) and negative social effects (weak social cohesion and coexistence, poor quality of life, loss of cultural diversity).

In this way, an open hardware toolbox (sensors), methodological knowledge (the pilot) and data analytics procedures (the evaluation) will be transmitted to citizens to democratize these skills.

The pilot will be deployed for 6 months in the Sagrada Familia and El Raval neighborhoods, and will be developed over three phases. In the Planning phase, representatives of local communities will validate the pilot plan. During the Implementation phase, members of the volunteer community will become citizen-scientists and learn to develop, calibrate, and operate their sensors to scientific standards. And in the Evaluation phase, citizens will actively participate to collectively analyze and make sense of the data collected, generating valid scientific results and public policy recommendations.

Public participation will be structured in two levels of commitment. First, a community council of citizen scientists, made up of neighborhood entities and representatives of local interest groups (5 per neighborhood), which guides the process to reflect the needs, values ​​and idiosyncrasies of the community. This nucleus will be involved in the validation of the pilot plan, the promotion of the participation of the local community, the leadership in the data analysis, and propose conclusions and recommendations of the process. And second, most citizen scientists (10 per neighborhood), who will build their sensor at the Ateneo de Fabricación (Barcelona’s public digital manufacturing laboratories), will generate data with a sensor device, and will have the responsibility of keeping it operational .

Sound Maps is a project promoted by Bit Lab Cultural SCCL, with funding from the European Commission within the ACTION initiative.


Professional partners

Pompeu Fabra University – Music Technology Group

Atheneum of Digital Fabrication Ciutat Meridiana