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Global Soundmaps Bursting Out All Over

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It seems like every time I turn around, there’s a new global sound mapping site popping up in my browser!  If you want to take a listen to the everyday sounds of this aural adventure called Planet Earth, here are three quite varied options–a click on each image below will take you to the site.  All of these sites accept any sound file you care to upload.

Radio Aporee

By far the most ambitious and creative of the bunch, this site is beautiful, if a bit opaque to navigate.  Clicking into the site will land you smack-dab into a fairly close up view of a city streetscape, with a few red dots denoting sound files uploaded from particular locations. Zoom out and you’ll see this neighborhood shrink down, while the red dots proliferate across the country, continent, and planet.  Click on any dot to listen in.  One of the cooler features is soundwalks, in which the “red dot soundfiles” fade out and in as you wander down the street!

Save Our Sounds BBC project


The newcomer to the block, this BBC soundmapping project just launched in June, and is rapidly gathering sound files from around the world.  In addition to the sound map, the main site features radio features from the concurrent series on BBC radio and a Desperately Seeking Sounds feature, in which visitors ask the global recording community to help them find sounds that they miss from their past or need for a current project.  Despite the big sponsor, this site’s sounds load more sluggishly than many other grassroots soundmaps out there, but there are some nice clips being sent in.

A map interface to track sounds submitted via AudioBoo, an iPhone app that lets users record sounds on their iPhone and upload it for the world to share.  Not surprisingly, this format leads to more random sounds (parties and moments that may not really “deserve” global attention) and more than a few oral ramblings on new projects or, whatever…

All of the maps end up being somewhat Euro/NorthAmerica-centric (especially Uboo), but each has some reach into Asia, Africa, and South America.  The sounds tend toward urban ambiences (that’s where the people with recording equipment do tend to live!), with a few natural settings as well.