Geography Of The Home
There is one place many people never consider the spatial attributes of geography. When one thinks about it, this should be the first place one considers it.
One’s home should be a place where spatial attributes are explored. While some might consider the logistics of trying to get from point A to point B from their home, there is so much more to consider.
The home itself has a special spatial quality. Consider how your place of residence is oriented. Take into consideration where the windows and entrances of your home are located. Your own home could actually serve as a geography lesson. When you wake up in the morning, consider which window in your home you will see the sun rise. If you can figure that out, that lets you know where east is.
To go further, if you can locate east, you can locate other directions, such as north, south, and west. Knowing the geography of your home will be helpful. If you are looking for a way to make your home more efficient, the spatial aspects of your home are important. If you make a map of your home, and take into account where the north and south parts of your home are, you can find a way to make your home more efficient. Trees on the north part of your home is quite helpful. It can serve as a buffer from the frigid winds of the north. Or, if you live in the southern hemisphere, the southern part of your home. With no trees on the south part of the house, the southern part of the home will be warmer. This is especially helpful in the winter, when the sun’s angle shifts further south(or for those is the southern hemisphere, when the sun shifts north).
Geography plays a big role in daily life. Sometimes, it is all in the details.
NoiseTube – cool crowd-source noise mapping app
Let’s be honest, we live in a very loud world. Road traffic, construction sites, ambulances and other sounds create urban cacophony, which is not only a form of pollution but most importantly it’s unhealthy and it significantly decreases the quality of life. On the other hand street noise isn’t generally a category-one issue for city governments, and they don’t put a lot of resources into measuring it.
Now there is solution. NoiseTube is a research project, started in 2008 at the Sony Computer Science Lab in Paris and currently hosted by the BrusSense Team at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel. NoiseTube is an open-source platform which consists of web map service and apps for iOS and Android that let you transform your smartphone into an acoustic detector to measure noise pollution.
The app uses your smartphone’s microphone and GPS to gather the noise, position and time. Each smartphone model has to be calibrated by the NoiseTube team to decrease the microphone’s error in order to produce a relatively accurate data set. The accuracy is estimated for around 5dB. I don’t know however if the app is able to make up for keeping your phone inside you pocket.
So far around 3000 users have registered to participate in the project, with over 10,000 people downloaded the app (both Android and iOS). The app offers online and offline modes. In online, you just open the app and forget about it. It automatically uploads sound level data as you wander about. In offline mode, it stores the data on the phone, and you have to upload it later.
What I like about the project is that NoiseTube shows the potential for cheap sensors and apps to broaden environmental sensing in cities, especially around under-acknowledged problems like noise pollution, which don’t generally get a lot of resources.