Urenio Watch Watch: Cities

Chatty maps: constructing sound maps of urban areas from social media data

chattymaps3Chatty maps is an innovative project aiming to produce detailed sound maps of large cities, such as Barcelona, London, New York and Washington DC. This project constitutes a very interesting attempt to combine big data coming from pictures and their tags, collected via social media, with sounds and emotions that characterise these areas.


Its unique  character relays on the fact that Chatty maps is one of the first attempts to explore the relationship between urban sounds and emotions, as well as streets’ sounds and possible perceptions linked to that areas. An urban sound taxonomy wheel is also proposed including six top-level categories: transport, mechanical, human, music, nature and indoor. The results of this project are illustrated in the corresponding paper of Aiello et al. (2016), where a detailed description of the methodological approach followed is also given.


According to the research team, social media data make it possible to effectively and cheaply track urban sounds at scale. As they state:

We have used social media data to map the sensorial and emotional layers of cities. Those layers will make a variety of applications possible – from urban planning to health informatics.

Additional projects and information about Goodcitylife.org research team could be found here.