SoundPLAN - Tools / Documentation / Interfaces Module
In SoundPLAN special tools are found at every corner of the program supporting you in getting the best results out of noise modeling/planning software and to present your findings optimally. A lot of the tools are already included in the basic start-kits. The Documentation and the basic Spreadsheet are tools that go well beyond what many expect from planning software. In order to fully understand the extent of the tools, a software trial is the only way to go.
Tools can be found in many different places of the program, most of them are entire sections of the program, others are ad-ons to these sections. The Spreadsheet is part of a SoundPLAN startkit, however a windows dimensioning toolkit is an add-on to the spreadsheet. In this module for all receivers where the outside noise level was calculated as single point receivers calculation, the indoor noise level can be calculated with a few extra parameters. If a desired noise level is given and the sizes of windows and the rest of the façade are entered, the program will specify the minimum Rw for the window.
Result tables are actually databases that save the results from calculations. As a user you can select the depth of the data to be saved. Of course this also will influence the size of your result files. From the saved database you can inspect all relevant calculation information (what input files were processed, what standard and noise assessment was used, what calculation parameters were defined). All this information should make the calculation transparent, traceable and repeatable.
The result tables are organized as a Master-Detail table with the receivers forming the master list and the additional information the details. Many templates are available to open and format the result data in the format you need. An extensive customization section allows to generate your own company templates with your company layout, logos etc.
For different purposes of the documentation you can have different content, a simple sheet with the results for various receivers is the most simple form, including bitmaps for each building and producing a time history diagram, a directional diagram and spectral information is the more complex form. Protocols of all intermediate results are possible in the same format. Each spreadsheet can be exported to the clipboard or just export the data directly to an Excel spreadsheet for further manipulations.
TheSpreadsheetwas designed so that you can open a calculation, request new columns and fill them with data or formulas. Data can be the results from a second calculation run, a formula would compare different calculation runs and place the noise level difference from calculation A and calculation B in column C.
Many templates exist for this spreadsheet for comparing and analyzing the results of calculations and to assess the noise exposure data for entire areas. As it is possible to generate columns with average apartment sizes, it is possible to distribute the population of an area evenly amongst the living space. This allows the spreadsheet o generate raw results that can be displayed in the graphics for example as a density of noise exposures. The spreadsheet in many applications is active in the background as the link between the result data and the graphics display.
Acoustics professionally are not paid to find out that traffic noise can be highly annoying but they are also tasked to better the noise situation. For traffic noise there are 3 principle ways to control noise, reduce the speed, change the pavement and to erect a noise protection wall.WallDesignis a SoundPLAN module to help engineers to find the optimal structure and placement of a wall. On a pre-determined line along a road/railway line a noise barrier is proposed and pre-calculated either for single point receivers of façade noise maps. The height of each barrier sections is iterated in defined increments between zero height and the maximum allowed height.
An interactive program then allows you to first calculate the optimal barrier, i.e. the barrier that does the job with the lowest cost. This barrier represents the raw form of the barrier but withWallDesign´s analytic tools and visual presentations you can customize to fit optimally in the cost/benefit structure and least intrusively into the landscape.
TheExpert Systemfor Industry Noise has a similar task for industrial noise as WallDesgn has for traffic noise. As it is uncommon for an industrial plant to build a noise control wall around the facility, the only option left is to control the noise at the source. TheExpert Systemis tasked to find the noise control solution with the least cost involved.
In the left screen the optimization screen of theExpert Systemcan be seen with the list of receivers in the top left spot. Receivers are ranked in accordance to the excess to the noise ordinance. For optimization purposes it is wise to look at the most problematic receiver first and to rank order the sources in their contribution to this receiver. The sorted contribution lists for all combinations of sources and receivers are located in the top right spot. In the middle of the sceenshot the summed up contributions without and with noise control measures are displayed. The middle right features the time history of noise levels experienced at the receiver, the left bottom picture the frequency breakdown at the receiver and in the right you find a 3D solid model.
For each of the receivers you can specify a list of noise control options with a price and a difference spectrum or a simple reduction in dB. The feature that makes theExpert Systemunique is that with pressing one button you can generate a cost/benefit analysis for the noise control of all sources for every one of the receivers involved in the Expert System.
Making noise maps for big cities or a province or an entire country require slightly different tools than the small scale noise consulting jobs. Big project most likely are structured with 'tiles' so that not all data must be loaded into memory at the same time. This makes loading the data faster and navigation in the project much easier. After the calculations there are several tools for reporting, statistics and Hot Spot Calculations that help with big projects.
SoundPLAN offers manyinterfacesto import and export data from/to external sources. Most of the interfaces are included in every basic version of SoundPLAN, however there are some exceptions: The ArcView interface, Card1 interface and the interface to/from TNM are add-ons to the program. Interfaces that commonly deal with a high amount of spot height data contain the possibility to filter the data so that the model only gets burdened with the data that must be included but keeps out the extra data that will not influence the results but make processing them a lengthy process.
Other tools not mentioned directly are the Window Dimensioning package attached to the spreadsheet, Building Acoustics Outside and the Noise Allotment.