Live: Schiphol flight paths + noise sensor web


I can’t think of a better example right now of how a sensor web can be used to both inform and engage. In the Netherlands, Geluidsnet (“noise net” in Dutch) has a new map-based service out today with corresponding KML link that mashes up two very interesting live data streams — live airplane flights around Schiphol airport, one of Europe’s busiest; and a sensor web of noise level meters. By themselves, each stream would be interesting, but when juxtaposed as done by Geluidsnet, this network link provides a whole new level of enhanced mapping.

We’ve seen the live flight component before in the US, as done by the pioneers, FBOweb. But the sensor web of microphones, with noise levels in Google Earth indicated by the color and height of cylinders, is new to me. What is especially impressive is that both streams get updated every second or so, and as a plane flies over a specific microphone, you see the decibels spike in real time.



I wondered how the server manages to support such an intense load for each computer connected, and I got the answer when after half an hour, the network link turns itself off with a message. You have to turn it back on to get another half hour. Clever.

Geluidsnet is a company that provides objective noise measurement services to both industry and communities, and is now able to provide both live flight paths and noise levels, as well as an archive of flight paths and georeferenced noise levels, so that disputes about noise pollution can be settled with reliable data accepted by all sides. Quality of life issues like these are a big deal in the Netherlands. I think Geluidsnet has just hit on a wonderful way to advertise its services, show off its technical prowess, and be entertaining at the same time.

PS This network link is most fun during the day in the Netherlands, as that’s when most planes fly. (Press release in Dutch)