Brendan Farrell, the founder of Howloud and an applied mathematician, wants to build a map of North America that calculates the sound score for each address. So far, his company has built a prototype for the Sound Map of the United States by assessing the loudness factor for over four million individual addresses in Los Angeles and Orange Counties. To create a sound profile for each addresses, noises such as vehicle traffic, airplanes flying overhead, and sound generated from businesses are modeled using physics to determine their penetration into a neighborhood.
The time of the noise is also factored into the model:
Time matters: noise in the night is worse than noise during the day. And intensity matters: a low-flying jet is worse than a light steady hum. We incorporate time and intensity factors into an aggregate score that allows users to compare locations.
The end result is a score ranging from 40 to 90. The higher the score, the quieter the neighborhood.
Those interested in looking up sound scores for Los Angeles and Orange County can do so by visit the Howloud.net site. Unfortunately visitors can only look up one address as a time and there is no browsing via map interface available. Searching is free and Farrell hopes to eventually be able to license out the data to realtors. Since the time of the noise is one of the model’s factors, it would be interesting to see a time-lapse of the sound score instead of the static score card currently offered.
To help fund the expansion across the United States, Howloud has set up a Kickstarter campaign, Sound Map of North America which is seeking to raise $38,000.