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Salford student puts ‘soundscapes’ on the map

App by PhD student aims to create worldwide ‘sound map’

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A student at the University of Salford has created a mobile app to compile ‘the world’s first sound map’.

iSAY, created by a team headed by PhD student Charlie Mydlarz, asks users to record short audio clips from different environments and upload them to the website.

The clips are then added to a ‘soundscape map’, which aims to ‘get a better understanding of what gives a place ‘character’ and how opinions and attitudes to sound environments vary’.

“[This is] the first ever sound map purely for research purposes”, explained Mydlarz.

“The findings could have far reaching uses, from psychological research to town planning”.

The  contributions of the public are key to the app’s future success, says Mylardz.

“By using everyday technology to get people involved, this has the potential to be the largest study of its kind,” he said.

Users have been recording sound clips from as far afield as New Zealand, Japan and Thailand.

The app does not only want to help people decide whether to move into an area or not, however: the researchers want people to start thinking of sound in an entirely different way.

“Rather than ‘landmarks’ and ‘landscapes’,” read a statement on the project’s website, “we might describe distinctive features of our sound environment as ‘soundmarks’ and value them as highly as an attractive country vista or dramatic urban skyline.”

  • Solomon Radley

    This whole ‘soundscapes’ thing has definitely already been done. Liverpudlian artist Stanza created an open-sourced pojected called ‘sound cities’ years ago, which encourages people to upload sounds from around the world so that they can be used to create works of art: http://www.soundcities.com/projects.php