QuietPlacesUK: modelling GB’s noise pollution using OS addressing and mapping APIs

2 minute read
Since OS has made addressing data available via the OS Data Hub and provides APIs for address and mapping data, this makes geocoding the addresses, after cleaning them up, much easier.

QuietPlacesUK is a small start-up based in South West England which has been on the drawing board for a couple of years. As a Geovation cohort made up of two business partners, the idea behind QuietPlacesUK is to provide automated, easy to understand environmental noise maps (and associated reporting) for property searching and planning by utilising available geographic, traffic and environmental data. For example, these validated noise mapping tools can be used to provide assessment reports of the environmental noise outside your potential new home.

They have put together a prototype model which accepts input as a postcode and house number. Since OS has made addressing data available via the OS Data Hub and provides APIs for address and mapping data, this makes geocoding the addresses, after cleaning them up, much easier.

QuietPlacesUK uses OS Open Zoomstack to fetch the road and rail network as well as local and more general buildings data. These factors have a significant influence on how noise is reflected and shielded, so good data local to the address of interest is required.

QuietPlacesUK takes a basic address input from a ‘user’ and passes them through the OS Match & Cleanse API and OS Places API to derive a geographic location for a pair of properties of interest. They download the data of roads, buildings and greenspaces using the OS Features API to produce a radius around each location. This is then processed into data used for noise modelling alongside Department for Transport data, which is then displayed back to the user as a noise map (often using the OS Vector Tile API as the underlying map).

Derby map

Using additional datasets such as greenspace, open water and pavement surfaces has a significant influence on the attenuation of noise where the local topological data is vital. Equally, the use of TOID and UPRN data can be used to enhance the service, where they can isolate and easily highlight properties of interest.

There are two types of centrality, closeness and betweenness, to fit the model. The visualisation below provides an early output from Derby.

This is then converted into a general traffic model, which is applicable for the whole of the UK and opens up other opportunities beyond noise-modelling.

The traffic and geographic data is then piped through noise-modelling software to generate noise maps similar to the images below. Created in both 2D for a static written report or as a 3D model, it can also be used with rail and flight data.

3D and 2D noise maps
3D and 2D noise maps.
3D rayshader map.
3D rayshader map.

Alongside this, the model can be used for converting to 3D rayshader maps, however this is more just for the aesthetics.

QuietPlacesUK has become a member of the Geovation hub, receiving invaluable advice about how they can get an idea from paper to production. Geovation has enabled QuietPlacesUK to be part of a wider geospatial community, which is essential now that their product is now ready for market.

By automating and conducting additional analysis using open-source software, QuietPlacesUK has created an application that has advanced the traffic model and is exposing the UI and website for wider alpha-testing over the coming days. This additional market information is targeted within the PropTech arena for consumers and business who want to make an informed decision on areas with noise pollution during their property search.

Interested in noise pollution models? Find out more at QuietPlacesUK.

3D rayshader map.
3D rayshader map.

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Products and solutions featured in this blog

  • OS Open Zoomstack

    Ordnance Survey's OS Open Zoomstack is an open vector basemap showing coverage of Great Britain from a national level, right down to street detail.