To celebrate the release of a lot of open data recently we have created a slightly different take on one of the datasets available in Digital Catapult’s new Environmental Data Exchange (EDX) website, and

The dataset we have chosen is DEFRA’s ‘Noise Exposure Data - England’, which gives access to a measure of the population exposed to road, rail and industrial noise. We decided on this dataset as it gave us a good reason to try and add a slightly different dimension to ‘viewing’ the data. Click on the image below and try hovering over the coloured areas on the map that opens - make sure your volume is turned up

In this case we have linked the volume of the sound played to the percentage of the population exposed to road noise, giving an extra audiovisual representation of the data. And this is an important point. With so much open data available, how we use it to derive insight is now more limited to our imaginations. This should allow us to not only derive greater, more valuable insights, but also make them more accessible. For example someone who is colour blind could still derive a level of insight from the above map, without relying purely on the numbers displayed in a pop-up or legend.

The Data

The DEFRA dataset doesn’t come with any location based information, so we have used Ordnance Survey Boundary Line open data to join the description of the DEFRA area to a geolocated district. As such some of the areas may not be exactly the same as how the noise measurements where taken originally, and are more a representation.

The map is generated using the Interactive Choropleth Map example provided by Leaflet JS with the tiles provided by Mapbox.

If you are using a touch enabled device then click the ‘iOS’ button. This will lock the map and allow you to touch and hold over the coloured areas.