Last updated: 03:00 AM ET, Fri March 25 2016

Chatty Maps Highlights The Sounds Of A City

Travel Technology | Gabe Zaldivar | March 25, 2016

Chatty Maps Highlights The Sounds Of A City

Image via Chatty Maps

Maps are amazing things. They give you the perfect vantage to get you to the correct destination. They give the curious observer a sense of density, topography and infrastructure. Oh, and some even give you a sense of sound.

It sounds odd, but you will instantly realize the applications once you take a gander at the items featured over at Chatty Maps.

It’s a website that gives the curious a snapshot of the kind of sounds you can expect street by street in 12 cities including London, Barcelona, New York, Rome and San Francisco.

Tap on the link and you can see in an instant how well suited each particular city is to peaceful walks or musical ambles.

READ MORE: Japan Changes Confusing Map Symbols for Tourists

San Francisco, for example, is a near nature reserve on the east side of town. OK, it might not be filled with wildlife, but the sounds will be typically soothing compared to the boisterous cacophony just to the west where many BART stations are found.

A far more immersive dig into the data and methodology can be found at the Royal Society Open Science (h/t Mashable).

The most intriguing aspect of the project is that it is thanks to social media. As Mashable notes, the maps weren’t produced with a bunch of people wandering the streets with microphones. That’s the kind of insanity normally relegated to Google-strapped cars.

Instead, researchers chose to scour social media, more specifically Flickr and various posts that had “sound-related terms.”

READ MORE: Tauck Partners with Google Maps to Photograph Lower Danube

Of course, the obvious downside is that sounds change on a daily basis. What might be a perfectly peaceful setting one day might be the kind of bluster that comes from a coffee shop or pub a few months later.

As echoed in the study, nothing is perfect when it comes to a project like this. And, selfishly, part of us yearns to actually click on a street and hear what it sounds like on a normal day.

That would be missing the point, however.

The people behind Chatty Maps have produced something quite spectacular in studying various cities and their sound personality.


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