Sound Maps

Years ago, a long time before the term API had any meaning to me, I started trying to make a New Zealand Sound Map… But after slicing & dicing a map of NZ and trying to work out how to embed audio & photos to locations I had to abandon ship – it required more skill than I have at such things, but years later it is fantastic to see the same idea seamlessly implemented, and ever growing as more and more sounds are embedded… Coincidentally, on the same day last week someone from Korea emailed me about a Seoul soundmap (with some interesting secondary applications) and someone on MeFi posted a long list of sound maps, so I thought both worth reposting here too…

First the Seoul sound map and the same team have recently launched YOU.MIX.POEM where you can drag & drop pre-recorded phrases of poetry into a timeline, and mix it with recordings from the Soundmap, all in your web browser! While I cannot understand Korean I always think one of the joys of travelling in a non-English speaking county is listening to the intonation of a language you don’t understand; the language almost becomes musical and that is definitely the case with this great implementation!

you mix poem

I’ve mentioned Aporee the global sound map here before, which provides an excellent means of embedding field recordings into satellite photos – info about contributing here and a few examples you should treat your ears with:
- Yaka Pygmys Children Songs
- Icelandic Girls Choir
- Gong of Mizusawa Temple

aporee map

And some sound maps I had never explored before: The SoundSeeker New York sound map – info here for contributing.

NY sound map

The Berlin Wall of Sound Map – submission guidelines here: “We want recordings from the route of the former wall, as it sounds now….”

If you are a fan of the TV show TREME you’ll have to checkout the Open Sound New Orleans which along with ambiences features some great live music recordings!

New Orleans Sound Map

The Barcelona Sound Map uses geotags of Freesound recordings and has an accompanying blog so you can hear new sounds as they are added to the map.

Barcelona Sound Map

The first recording I listened to on the Madrid Sound map was of some people laughing & shouting in the street, followed by what at first sounded like a gunshot! After my heart rate slowed back down and the laughter & shouting carried on, I realised it must have just been someone throwing out rubbish or having some rowdy fun…

Madrid Sound Map

Next I explored some of the countryside on the larger scale Spain sound map, which has the added implementation of photos along with the sound recordings

Spain Sound Map

The London Sound Survey is a site rich in sound, including historical recordings, wildlife and a grid based sound map whereas the seperate UK Sound Map takes a more traditional map based approach.

The Smalls Street Sounds sound map covers the entire United States of America and employs a layered approach, zooming you from a graphic outline of the entire country, into states and then into street maps where sounds are located.

Perhaps one of the most intriguing of sound maps is the LIDO map (Listening in Deep Oceans) which is really more of a sound globe, with various underwater listening stations located on it. Once you choose your listening location you are transferred to playback with a spectral display:

LIDO Map

Some other sound maps to explore: Montreal plus Vancouver and Toronto as well as many other cities on the SoundCities site

Sound Cities

I think I’ve got virtual jetlag – time for a lie down! But also time to start thinking about how I might finally implement a New Zealand Sound Map, especially with so many incredibly inspiring sites as examples!!

UPDATE with more sound maps:
- Gordon Soundscapes project by Pete Stollery
- Trevor Cox’s Sound Tourism
- Freesounds own geotag map
- BBC Save Our Sounds
- The lower east side of NYC
- Five cities around Portugal
- Sound map of Germany

thanks for the updates everyone!

13 Responses to Sound Maps

  1. Felix says:

    Wow thanks for putting together this comprehensive list. I love the whole idea of soundmaps as it allows people to connect with the sounds that make their place ‘theirs,’ and to explore places they haven’t yet visited in a new way.

    There are a few you could add to your list if interested; the Gordon Soundscapes project by Pete Stollery, and Trevor Cox’s Sound Tourism project.

    I hope you do turn your NZ sounds into a map, and thanks ever so much for alerting me to the presence of the deep water map. I love projects like this which make it possible to hear places where we normally wouldn’t be able to…

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  3. Anton Woldhek says:

    Also, freesound allows you to geotag samples:
    http://www.freesound.org/geotagsView.php

    the map is a bit slow on the website sometimes, but it works quite well if you add it to google earth!

  4. Alastair says:

    I was involved with a series of projects along these lines a few years ago.

    One profiles the lower east side of NYC:
    http://www.tenement.org/folksongs/

    Another takes in five cities around Portugal:
    http://www.cincocidades.com/

    Enjoy!

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  6. _blank says:

    The “larger scale Spain sound map” is not about Spain, is a map of Galicia, which is a region in the nortwest of Spain ;) There are a couple of recordings made in other regions, but the site is about the Galician soundscape. In Spain, apart from the three sites that you have mentioned, we have another one that is quite known http://www.soinumapa.net/ a map of another Spanish region (the Basque country).

    I live in Barcelona and the Barcelona sound map is a bit terrible, most of the time is impossible to upload archives, in the last year only four archives have been uploaded, the last one in March…

  7. Ian R says:

    Many thanks for including the London Sound Survey among a list of some really excellent projects.

    The main reason I didn’t use the ‘traditional’ Google Maps approach was because I couldn’t be arsed learning how to use the API. The grid approach seems OK for something the size of a city, but probably not for anything larger.

    Best wishes
    Ian

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  10. You can include http://en.soundtrip.org/ to your great list of Sound Maps :)

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