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      Chatty Maps: Constructing sound maps of urban areas from social media data

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          Abstract

          Urban sound has a huge influence over how we perceive places. Yet, city planning is concerned mainly with noise, simply because annoying sounds come to the attention of city officials in the form of complaints, while general urban sounds do not come to the attention as they cannot be easily captured at city scale. To capture both unpleasant and pleasant sounds, we applied a new methodology that relies on tagging information of geo-referenced pictures to the cities of London and Barcelona. To begin with, we compiled the first urban sound dictionary and compared it to the one produced by collating insights from the literature: ours was experimentally more valid (if correlated with official noise pollution levels) and offered a wider geographic coverage. From picture tags, we then studied the relationship between soundscapes and emotions. We learned that streets with music sounds were associated with strong emotions of joy or sadness, while those with human sounds were associated with joy or surprise. Finally, we studied the relationship between soundscapes and people's perceptions and, in so doing, we were able to map which areas are chaotic, monotonous, calm, and exciting.Those insights promise to inform the creation of restorative experiences in our increasingly urbanized world.

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          Author and article information

          Journal
          2016-03-24
          Article
          1603.07813
          0429f8ce-96d1-44fa-b1cf-ade9f131e9f6

          http://arxiv.org/licenses/nonexclusive-distrib/1.0/

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          28 pages, 18 figures, final version published in Royal Society Open Science journal, Royal Society Open Science (published in 23rd March 2016)
          cs.SI cs.CY cs.SD

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