As we explored in our Spring 2015 article Good Vibrations, noise can beneficial in certain scientific contexts but is far less welcome in more mundane situations.
KPCC’s AirTalk program recently featured an interview with Brendan Farrell, a former Caltech postdoctoral student in computing and mathematical sciences, about his Kickstarter campaign that aims to map the noise levels of Southland communities. Farrell got the idea for the site, called HowLoud, after he went seeking a new apartment in a quiet location — only to realize there were no good, accurate data on how quiet a given apartment might be.
HowLoud is an attempt to provide that information: it seeks to scientifically quantify noise levels in the region and also provide an easy way for consumers to compare various locations. The system quantifies noise from traffic, airports, and businesses on a 100-point scale, with quieter areas receiving higher scores.
As Farrell explained on AirTalk, “We wanted to create a user-friendly consumer tool. We’ve taken a lot of the traditional acoustical engineering tools and used [computer modeling] on a massive scale, so we have a huge 3-D model of all of Los Angeles County and Orange County. And we have the traffic in there and just use physics to propagate the noise this traffic creates throughout the region.”
The HowLoud Kickstarter project—run by a team including Farrell and four mapping and mathematical modeling experts—has been featured in several media outlets and is well on its way to reaching its goal.
The rest of the KPCC interview can be found online.