MapCarte 72/365: City Symphonies by Mark McKeague, 2013

Maps are predominantly visual devices but experimentation with soundscapes has also provided fertile ground for cartographic experimentation. Here, Mark McKeague takes a bustling urban intersection in London and creates a mapped representation where the sound of vehicles and their relationships is triggered by location and movement through space.

The traffic is simulated and the visual representation is digitised and rendered as simple as can be: geometric points and single lines. There is no background clutter and because the visuals are so minimal they don’t compete for the attention of our sense and the sounds come to the fore. The ‘music’ produced comes from the unique locations and represent place and time with the sounds being a function of how different features interact at particular locations. The sound has also been spatialised so that when listening with headphones, you get a sense of near and far as well as movement from side to side.

Sound is rarely used in maps but as digital mapping becomes more prevalent there is no reason why we cannot encode audio into our maps to represent features and extend the palette of map interaction.

More about this project on Mark’s site here.