Citizens concerned about their living environment act


Many citizens show a strong concern about the quality of their living environment. Planned or discussed changes in for example traffic, often trigger more interest in air quality and noise. The concerned citizens want to validate the information given to them by the government. Monitoring the current situation is a good way to get in touch with the numbers and maps that are sometimes hard to interprete.

This demonstrator case focusses on fixed measurement stations for noise in particular since these are avalable at relatively low cost. The main focus area is the Antwerp area.


IDEA’s innovation and strengths

First and aforemost, IDEA offers a plug and play hardware that cannot be used incorrectly. The IDEA nodes are coupled to the home internet and power supply and immediately start sending raw noise monitoring data with very high temporal and spectral resolution to the cantral databases. The participant can watch data coming in on the internet (see some examples below).

IDEA post processing of data is completely automised using intelligent agents and open standard compatible databases (OGC) databases. This implies that several derived indicators such as Lnight or Lden are obtained without labor cost. Automatic sound recognition adds to the interpretation of the measurement (not available on all nodes today).

The measured information can be contrasted to publicly available noise maps via a specialised user interface and put in a wider context by relating it to measurements perfomed elsewhere.


Detailed description of the demonstrator

True participative sensing assumes minimal involvement of the investigators. Currently about 10 nodes are operational in Antwerp that were installed by and are maintained by the participants themselves. Some of them also deploy strategies for using the data in their communications with peers and the government.

Here are some examples of the life data the participants

  • for viewing an open living area with elevated background levels due to highway noise, click here
  • for noise levels at the facade of a house along a busy through street, click here
  • a view on noise levels in a backyard that was expected to be quiet, click here




Prof. Dr. Ir. Dick Botteldooren
+32 (0) 9 264 99 68

Technologiepark-Zwijnaarde 126, 9052 Gent



©IDEA-Project 2009