My community has significant noise problems due to vehicles with custom exhaust systems. Our home owner associations are voting down proposals and permits to build new apartments complexes within a 3 mile radius out of fear that it will introduce more of these vehicles.

Could anyone recommend an open source package for Windows for noise mapping?

I am using JaamSim (Discrete Event Simulation) to model the effects of additional traffic on residential streets; but need a package that shows the increase in noise exposure due to 5, 15, 20 and 50 vehicles with custom exhaust systems in neighborhoods. This will be used to approximate the loss in property value using established loss per additional dB of noise tables as well as increased episodes of noise related health problems by ICD-9 and ICD-10 codes.

  • Your biggest problem is the lack of calibrated noise measurement on a PC I would suggest a quick trip to Tandy/Radio Shack/Amazon where you can get a reasonable quality noise meter for about the $20 mark. Dec 4, 2016 at 16:48
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    Hi Steve - thanks for the reply. As of January 2017 we will have a full year of noise data collected every two seconds around the clock using calibrated Reed SD-4023 meters. Dec 5, 2016 at 17:18

1 Answer 1


You could take a look at traditional graphing tools such as:

But all of the above need quite a lot of work and generally are looking to display on a global or national scale.


I would suggest taking a look at QGIS which will allow you to overlay a variety of data onto maps derived from various sources, down to street level there is a list of data sources on the QGIS site, and provides a GUI that you can turn on or off the various overlays easily. enter image description here

You will need to pre-process your data from your sensors to generate a number of overlays such as peak noise level per day, number of daylight hours with peak levels above a given value for more than a given time - the same for nighttime, etc. and for this I would suggest using python & pandas to generate the overlays which I understand is something of a standard practice in Geographic Information Systems.

One possibility that I would suggest is for each point plot a heat map with the lower limit being the distance at which the noise falls to some acceptable level and the colour density being the amount of time that the noise was at this level. A very nice tutorial on doing something similar is available here.

You can even produce animations of your data with some extensions.

Some examples: enter image description here

QGIS is:

  • Free, Gratis and Open Source
  • Cross Platform Windows, OS-X & Linux
  • Runs on your local machine(s)
  • Very active user community including on GIS/SO


ArcGIS Online is also a very respectable and easy to use package for plotting your information and has the advantage of running on a cloud platform but is a charged for service - there are some plans that you might qualify for that reduce the cost. It does have the advantages that the basemaps may well already be provided and that your credits include some techincal support.

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