Mobile app to measure realtime noise levels, track source using GPS by CSIR-NEERI researchers

New Delhi: According to the World Health Organization (WHO) noise pollution is the third most hazardous environmental type of pollution after air and water pollution and researchers always face problems while monitoring noise. To solve these types of issues, researchers from the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research-National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (CSIR-NEERI), Nagpur, have developed a unique Noise Tracker Application to measure realtime noise levels using Android smartphones.

The Noise Tracker App has two important functions – Noise Monitoring and Data Entry options.

The Noise Monitoring feature allows users to record noise levels at any point in time. The app can measure and display the minimum, maximum and average decibel levels. With this it also has the ability to locate geographically the source of noise using the Global Positioning System (GPS).

The data handling and management of field data feature comprises of keeping records of GPS locations, noting noise levels for sites, inputting comments for false reading, etc.

“As commercial noise meters are mostly not as user-friendly as smartphones are, the app data management utility option manages the data along with geographic locations very efficiently, and can be instantly shared with various options such as email, WhatsApp etc. In this section the user can calculate the insertion loss for any proposed barrier to curb noise pollution,” said Dr Satish Lokhande, Sr. Technical Officer, CSIR-NEERI.

The app has another feature called ‘Map it’. Once field monitoring is over, with this feature one can generate a study map of the site. It shows all the tagged locations along with noise levels and permissible limits.

Once the app is downloaded on the smartphone, it uses GPS to find the user’s location, and the mobile microphone records noise levels in the surroundings and displays readings on the screen. The user can record noise levels for various locations in the city and view the data in a tabular form, or have it visualized with the help of a map.

“Within 2 months, the app has shown significant performance by having 1,000+ downloads not only in India but also in several other countries like the USA, China, Italy, Australia and many more. It has a Google Play Store rating of 4.9. We are in the process of filing copyrights for the app,” said Dr Lokhande. He added that there is a plan to introduce the Noise Tracker App on the iOS platform for iPhone users.

Besides the common population, this app may be useful for officials from organisations such as State Pollution Control Boards and other private environmental consultancy services providers for noise data management. Manthan Kolhe and Mohindra Jain are two other members of the team who worked on the development of the app.

Jyoti Singh is a contributor at India Science Wire.

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