THIS PAGE HAS A TEXT-ONLY VERSION FOR BLIND USERS
SHARE THIS PAGE

General sound map

Recordings of background atmospheres and incidental noises from all over London. Some form part of a sound grid series recorded at evenly-spaced points across the city, each marking the centre of a square on the map below.

1 3 5
2 4 3 3 11
1 1 1 1 6 5 7 16 21 3 18 1 1
2 8 22 11 3 5 5 17 5 4 2 1 4 1  
3 11 4 7 9 6 25 39 21 38 8 1 5    
1 3 5 7 5 48 42 56 38 11 8 3 2
1 1 2 7 6 15 8 40 15 5 1 1 4
1 1 41 2 8 4 1 9 7 1 1
3 4 3 7 1 3 5 2  
6 1 20 6 1 3 1 1
1 1 2 1 1
1 1

Above: graphic based on a daytime satellite image courtesy of the Image Science and Analysis Laboratory, NASA Johnson Space Center. Each red grid square is 2.5 miles or 4 kilometers across.

Breakspear Road South UB10 June 2:00

Grid square: Ruislip

Recording date: 19 June 2015

Time of day: 4pm

Location: Breakspear Road South near junction with Greenacres Avenue, Hillingdon.

Description: Loud traffic, including heavy goods vehicles, passing at speed along Breakspear Road.

Technical guff: Headworn stereo. 2 x Shure WL-183 mics and Olympus LS-14 recorder.

Recorded by: IM Rawes

Additional notes: None.

St Georges Drive UB10 June 2:00

Grid square: Ruislip

Recording date: 19 June 2015

Time of day: 3.40pm

Location: Halfway down St George's Drive, Hillingdon.

Description: Airplane drone, distant traffic, faint birdsong, footsteps of a passerby, faint sound of radio playing in a nearby house, a car drives past, noise of building work in the distance.

Technical guff: Headworn stereo. 2 x Shure WL-183 mics and Olympus LS-14 recorder.

Recorded by: IM Rawes

Additional notes: Some wind noise on recording.

Hoylake Crescent west UB10 June 2:00

Grid square: Ruislip

Recording date: 19 June 2015

Time of day: 3.25pm

Location: Hoylake Crescent near junction with The Mead, Hillingdon.

Description: Distant traffic, voices of children outside a primary school, occasional traffic on Hoylake Crescent, birdsong, footsteps, a car door slams, the wind stirs foliage, faint adult voices, music from a passing car.

Technical guff: Headworn stereo. 2 x Shure WL-183 mics and Olympus LS-14 recorder.

Recorded by: IM Rawes

Additional notes: None.

Mad Field Covert June 2:00

Grid square: Ruislip

Recording date: 19 June 2015

Time of day: 3.15pm

Location: Middle of Mad Field Covert woodland to the east of Hoylake Crescent, Hillingdon.

Description: Birdsong, airplane drone, distant traffic, faint banging or knocking sounds in the distance, the wind stirs foliage.

Technical guff: Headworn stereo. 2 x Shure WL-183 mics and Olympus LS-14 recorder.

Recorded by: IM Rawes

Additional notes: None.

Hoylake Crescent east UB10 June 1:57

Grid square: Ruislip

Recording date: 19 June 2015

Time of day: 3.10pm

Location: Hoylake Crescent near junction with Woodland Close, Hillingdon.

Description: A van door slams, sound of a power saw and other noises from nearby house renovation work, occasional passing traffic, faint music from a nearby house, a man's voice heard faintly.

Technical guff: Headworn stereo. 2 x Shure WL-183 mics and Olympus LS-14 recorder.

Recorded by: IM Rawes

Additional notes: Some wind noise on recording.

River Pinn July 2:00

Grid square: Ruislip

Recording date: 13 July 2013

Time of day: 12.30pm

Location: By the river Pinn between Swakeleys Road and Copthall Road East, Ickenham, north-west London.

Description: Birdsong, crows call, the wind stirs foliage, faint aircraft drone.

Technical guff: Headworn stereo. 2 x Shure WL-183 mics and Sony PCM-M10 recorder.

Recorded by: IM Rawes

Additional notes: Bass roll-off at around 100Hz to reduce wind noise.

Copthall footpath July 2:00

Grid square: Ruislip

Recording date: 13 July 2013

Time of day: 12.45pm

Location: In a field between Harvil Road and Breakspear Road South, Ickenham, north-west London.

Description: Distant traffic and airplane drone, faint birdsong, stridulation of grasshoppers, the wind stirs foliage.

Technical guff: Headworn stereo. 2 x Shure WL-183 mics and Sony PCM-M10 recorder.

Recorded by: IM Rawes

Additional notes: None.

TQ 0854 8826 1:00

Grid square: Ruislip

Recording date: 27 June 2009

Time of day: 3.30pm

Location: OS grid reference TQ 0854 8826. Arlington Drive.

Description: Quiet residential street. Sounds of a woman tending her front garden, birdsong from trees lining the street, distant traffic, faint and indistinct voices.

Technical guff: Stereo. Audio Technica BP4025 mic, Fostex FR-2LE recorder.

Recorded by: IM Rawes

Additional notes: A very pleasant couple noticed the microphone's windshield and came out of their house to talk. They said that the trees in the street were filled with ring-necked parakeets in the mornings, and they weren't too fond of those birds' raucous screeches.

About general sound map recordings

The majority of recordings on the general sound map are simply of curious or distinctive sounds heard around London. Some also appear elsewhere as part of the 12 Tones of London statistical recording project, and here are subsumed into their appropriate grid squares.

These kinds of recordings always have descriptive file names which don't require any further explanation. But just over a hundred others have ones consisting only of the letters 'TQ' followed by eight digits. These are the Ordnance Survey co-ordinates marking the exact centre of each of the sound map's 112 grid squares, and so these file names tell you with some precision where the recordings were made. Reaching each point was done with the help of a GPS receiver and a willingness to scramble over fences and run onto golf courses. The contents of those recordings are summarised in the graphic below:

The key on the left-hand side shows the most common sound categories encountered. The louder a particular sound type encountered at the centre of a grid square, the darker its icon. More than one icon of the same kind means that sound takes up more of the recording's length. Despite the wide spacing of the recording points and the brief duration of the sound files, they seem to do a reasonable job of plotting in outline the common or persistent sound types heard around London during the daytime.