“Sonifying Noise Pollution” is a self-initiated sonification project made using Max MSP to highlight the extent of noise pollution from road traffic sources in the UK, based on data obtained from the European Environmental Agency.

The datasets from the EEA contained information on the percentages of people in UK cities who were exposed to dangerous levels of noise pollution (>55 dB) on a day-to-day basis. I then refined this data and colour-coded each city according to its noise pollution level. The colour channels were then each assigned a particular frequency and members of the public could click on the map to hear the different levels of noise pollution in each city.

I collaborated with RCM composer Lara Poe and we did a series of field recordings which she further processed, giving each city a unique soundscape which corresponded to its noise pollution level.

We presented it to the public and IRCAM researchers at the IRCAM 2017 forum workshops in Paris in March last year. The public were then able to navigate our sonified map using either a mouse or the Leap Motion controller.


It's a fairly simply project, had a lot of fun implementing the leap motion into Max – also nice as a piece of conversation for talking about noise pollution, and how London isn't as bad as the infrastructure of some cities like Slough have A-roads running through the city centre...

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