Utilising the Strengths of Different Sound Sensor Networks in Smart City Noise Management

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City noise management involves a variety of disciplines such as planning, mapping, action plans, policing, complaint management, abatement and public awareness. With the wide availability of mobile broadband internet access coupled with low cost noise sensors, many authorities and researchers are eager to use sound sensor networks for these tasks. A sensor network can be defined as a group of specialized transducers and processing with a communications infrastructure and is intended to monitor and record conditions at diverse locations, connected to a central software. This definition covers a wide range of different possibilities, designs and components such as MEMS microphones, processing software, type approved instrumentation, smart phones, etc. However, are all networks suitable for all tasks? Many sensors trade off measurement precision to reduce cost and enable an increase in number of measurement points within a budget. This paper describes different sensor classes and implementation strategies. It discusses the relative merits of different sensors and describes what is important to take account of when implementing these networks for application to one or multiple noise management tasks, outlining what each can be used for and what they shouldn’t be used for. Aspects covered include architecture, and practical applicability. The paper concludes with recommendations for using different smart networks and for further research.

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