Edinburgh CitySounds was one of 17 experiments selected for the second phase of funding by OrganiCity. The project explored and celebrated the richness of sounds in the city, benefiting from recent innovations in digital technology and network infrastructure.
Edinburgh CitySounds focused on how sounds captured in a central urban greenspace can inform community groups and citizens about biodiversity and health and well-being, as well as provide a unique resource for artists and data scientists. That meant the project spanned across topics such as biodiversity, health and wellbeing, digital audio art and data science.
The project installed Audio Capture Devices (ACDs) at several locations across the Meadows. The ACDs regularly capture short clips of ultrasonic and audible noises of bats, birds and other wildlife, traffic, and human activity in real time. The sounds are combined with other data from sensors, such as light, temperature and humidity, and used to answer questions such as:
- How active is the bat population around the Meadows?
- Does traffic noise change animal behaviour over the course of a day?
- What is the pattern of human activity during different seasons of the year?
CitySounds and its partners wanted to develop better ways for both scientists and residents to investigate biodiversity in urban greenspaces.
The project is part of the University of Edinburgh’s Internet of Things (IoT) Initiative which is exploring innovative ways that internet-connected devices and sensors, such as temperature sensors, motion sensors, water gauges, etc. can be used to understand and inform new approaches to improve the lives of people living and working across the Edinburgh and South East Scotland area.