May 19th, 2009

Seeding the Sound Cloud

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if all the soundscape recordings people have made and are making — from soundwalks, to radio captures, to ambiences — were available as GPS-pegged audiostreams that could be accessed, say, on one’s phone, a la the “locative art” in Gibson’s Spook Country?

A step further (if away from the curatorial), the right software application, given a decent pool of geo-tagged audio files, could offer quite a realtime collage of places’ past soundscapes. Assuming, that is, that this is something one would want to do: to listen in/to two (or more) moments at once.

I think I would. I’ve attempted similar exercises, seen.

Anyone working on this? Or some piece of such a project?


  • 1. bo  |  May 19th, 2009 at 2:26 pm

    hey wayne! Bernie krause is doing something along these lines – Part of his thing is to use sound to document degradation of the sonic environment…been talking with wolfie from soundgoods (who is a geographer in “real” life) about this quite a bit – using the metadata in an mp3 to tag it with geographical information. bo

  • 2. wayneandwax  |  May 19th, 2009 at 2:47 pm

    interesting! i’m not suprised to hear that preservationist soundscapers (a la the neologist himself, murray schafer) are thinking along these lines. of course, i’m open to hearing our noisy, mass mediated soundscapes too, but it can be a BIG ol tent, for sure.

  • 3. Canyon Cody  |  May 19th, 2009 at 4:14 pm

    I made a soundscape of Granada grafitti from images and sounds recorded on a walk when I first got to Spain two years ago, with bitsotext from Audio Culture.

    That sunday morning Jamaican radio mix of your’s appears briefly in my Dubious Bredren mix @ 1:16 — and, as you already know, the smashacre recently relocated to the 206

    is that a city full of sounds?

  • 4. wayneandwax  |  May 19th, 2009 at 6:04 pm

    Ask and ye shall receive. This is pretty amazing, along these lines —

    thx @madebyrobot

  • 5. jean poole  |  May 19th, 2009 at 10:53 pm

    there’s a few graf kinda projects like that –

  • 6. AKA  |  May 20th, 2009 at 3:08 pm

    Hi Wayne, I’m interested in/working on superimposing geographical and sonic spaces as well. Let us know if you come across anything cool…

    My work so far consists of two directions, the SyncWalk urban-route-as-reactive-playlist project described on my homepage) and the smaller-scale audio terrain interface described here. Come by the Lab sometime and say hi!

  • 7. Wolfie  |  May 28th, 2009 at 9:32 pm

    Hey Wayne,
    the topic as well reminds me always of a great art project of Michael Wesely and Kalle Lahr even it’s not a digital thing. They recorded the sound and took a long-exposure photograph at the same time at the same spot in big cities. The foto and the recorded sound is then put together on a same medium: a picture vinyl disc.



  • 8. canyon cody  |  July 16th, 2009 at 12:10 pm

    found another cool soundscape resource @ [googlemaps mashups are the truth! Best graffiti in Granada and Tony Hawks’ skate spots and and and

  • 9. wayneandwax  |  September 16th, 2009 at 9:46 am

    this seems like an interesting application —

    GPS Beatmap from Jesse Stiles on Vimeo.

    (via maga bo, via wolfie)

  • 10. wayneandwax  |  January 7th, 2010 at 12:02 pm

    A few more addenda, mostly from a conversation among the Sound Studies Google group:

    From Ashon Crawley:

    So I figured I’d respond. Is anyone familiar with Open Sound New Orleans? It is a Sound Map of the city:

    From Bill Boyer:

    I’m a bit late to this conversation, but I’ve done this sort of work
    in the past so I thought I would share. Four years ago, when The
    Google API was released to the public, I was teaching a class on sound
    with Jason Stanyek. We decided to create a collaborative website
    where the students could upload field recordings to share. The site
    included a google map mashup, nearly identical to the one that you can
    find at The site was created with drupal and
    could easily be formatted for viewing on a mobile device, if someone
    wanted to put in the coding time. It wasn’t an app, but you could
    also make an iPhone app out of it, I guess. And although I’ve seen
    dozens of similar sites, I haven’t yet seen one with the sort of
    regional boundaries to which Wayne referred. The closest thing I can
    think of is the grid on the map that tells you how many
    listings are inside each square. There are loads of sound maps at the
    googlemapsmania blog:

    From Ben Tausig:

    “The traditional method of noise surveying is to use trained
    professionals to go to a specific site to measure and assess noise
    levels using dedicated and expensive equipment. This project aims to
    enfranchise the public by providing them with the opportunity to play
    an active role in noise measurement and assessment, as well as how
    their soundscapes are shaped.”

  • 11. wayneandwax  |  January 8th, 2010 at 11:40 am

    Also, just stumbled upon this interesting soundwalk/artproject, presenting a parallax audition of NYC-Baghdad:

    The listener will be given a CD player (or ipod), headphones, and a military-map, which details key targets from 42nd Street to Central Park (42nd Street subway station, ABC, Fox News, CNN et al). On top of the actual map will be a thin-carbon layer with another map of downtown Baghdad, which outlines the initial route taken by U.S. troops when soldiers invaded in March of 2002. Oddly enough the route parallels the walk from 42nd Street, up 5th Avenue into Central Park at the corner of 59th Street. The listener will also be directed to begin this immersive sonic experience at the main entrance to the 42nd Street subway station where there is a high amount of civilian traffic and commercialism.

  • 12. wayneandwax  |  January 11th, 2010 at 10:26 am

    See also, Ben Tausig’s blog, where he rounds up all these ex.s (& more) and offers a typology too —

  • 13. Atlas Sound: A Typology o&hellip  |  January 19th, 2010 at 10:45 am

    […] Many of these come from recent discussions on the Sound Studies listserv, and from an item on Wayneandwax. Have I missed any important categories? Do you know of other […]

  • 14. wayneandwax  |  February 3rd, 2010 at 2:30 pm

    Here’s yet another interesting/promising project along these lines:

    One of these days, though, a lot of these projects will benefit from being somehow “merged” — or at least cross-browsable/searchable/layerable.

  • 15. Johnpyper  |  April 8th, 2010 at 12:38 pm

    Thanks Wayne. Your platform delivers.

  • 16. wayneandwax  |  September 15th, 2010 at 10:47 am

    Here’s an interesting post talking about the difficulties/impossibilities of accessing soundscapes of our (relatively) distant past:

    Of course, I’m as much interested in using the tools we have now so that The People of The Future will be able to listen back, even if we can’t do so ourselves right now. Along those lines, here’s another roundup of soundwalks/soundmaps:

  • 17. w&w  |  January 24th, 2011 at 10:16 am

    And here’s another round-up:

    The first online open source database of city sounds and soundmaps from around the world, using found sounds and field recording. The sounds can be listened to, used in performances on laptops, or played on mobiles via wireless networks. A sound art project by UK artist Stanza you can now contribute your own found sounds onto the various soundmaps or create your own soundmap. This website allows the audience the possibility to remix the hundreds of samples recorded from around the world in the database. There are now thousands of sounds from around the world.

    Soundcities uses recorded soundscapes from world cities made over the last twelve years. The Database is also open so anyone can upload sounds they collect from world cities, thereby making a contribution to the project and making an online sounds archive.

  • 18. Fritz  |  October 29th, 2014 at 4:32 am

    Pretty late, I know, but anyway. There is a tool doing exactly what you are looking for: the ‘miniatures for mobiles’ app by Udo Noll, based on the aporee ::: maps soundmap, see

    The app enables you to create a network of GPS-located sounds to be browsed by walking. Or you can just tune in and listen to sounds nearby that have been archived on aporee maps before.

    I used the minatures for mobiles in two projects, and

    Both the network and the app are free and accessable.


I'm a techno-musicologist, internet annotator, imagined community organizer.

I left my <3 in the digital global, but I reside in Cambridge, MA, where I'm from.

I represent like that.

wayne at wayneandwax dot com

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