Sound maps are nothing new but they are becoming increasingly popular as technology (such as Google Maps and Audioboo) are making their creation much easier. My interest in these stems from the Sounds Like Leigh-On-Sea project my brother is creating of our hometown (map below).
View Sounds Like Leigh-on-Sea in a larger map
There are several other larger-scale projects that have caught my eye recently. The London Sound Survey is one of the most mature projects with sounds from most of London, and recent plans to expand east along the Thames Estuary.
On a National Scale the Noise Futures Network and British Library have teamed up to create the UK Soundmap with the intention of creating a crowd-sourced soundscape of the UK. It has only recently been launched so there is space for many more contributions!
One of my favorite maps is from sonicwonders.org with its “travel guide to sonic wonders‘. Sounds can be rated as ‘worth a journey’, ‘worth a detour’ and ‘interesting’ and it can certainly add another dimension to holiday plans.
Worthy of a final mention is the BBC’s Audio Map of the World because it is the most extensive I have seen (it even has recordings from Antarctica!).
I think sound maps are yet to come of age. It would be nice to see the large scale creation of georeferenced sound recordings uploaded online in a similar way that photos are on Flickr. I think they could make for a really interesting data source and could produce some great maps and applications.