Editor’s Choice: This article is an excellent example of crowd-based monitoring for public health purposes using the ubiquity of smartphones in urban environments. — LFF —


In this study, we attempted to assess the feasibility of collecting population health data via mobile devices. Specifically, we constructed noise maps based on sound information monitored by individuals’ smartphones. We designed a sustainable way of creating noise maps that can overcome the shortcomings of existing station-based noise-monitoring systems. Three hundred and nine Seoul residents aged 20–49 years who used Android-based smartphones were recruited, and the subjects installed a special application that we developed for this study. This application collected information on sound and geographical location every 10 min for 7 days. Using GIS, we were able to construct various types of noise maps of Seoul (e.g., daytime/nighttime and weekdays/weekends) using the information on sound and geographical location obtained via the users’ smartphones. Despite the public health importance of noise management, a number of countries and cities lack a sustainable system to monitor noise. This pilot study showed the possibility of using the smartphones of citizen scientists as an economical and sustainable way of monitoring noise, particularly in an urban context in developing countries.

Image Credit: Figure from article – Collective sound map of Seoul, South Korea

Source: PLOS ONE: Designing a Sustainable Noise Mapping System Based on Citizen Scientists Smartphone Sensor Data