Noise Observation and Information Service for Europe - NOISE

Frequently Asked Questions

Below is a sample list of questions that may assist you.

Where has this noise exposure data come from?

European Directive 2002/49/EC relating to the assessment and management of environmental noise, also known as the Environmental Noise Directive (END), requires that member states of the European Union carry out strategic noise mapping for specific sources. Data on population exposure as determined by the noise maps is to be reported to the European Commission. Other EEA member countries also report data in accordance with the END. This is the data presented in NOISE.

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What is a strategic noise map?

The Environmental Noise Directive describes a strategic noise map as a map designed for the global assessment of noise exposure in a given area due to different noise sources or for overall predictions for such an area.

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Which indicators have been used to assess noise exposure?

The noise exposure data is based upon assessments utilising the two main indicators Lden and Lnight where

Lden is the day, evening, night level used to assess overall annoyance. It is a logarithmic composite of the Lday, Levening and Lnight levels but with 5dB(A) being added to the Levening value and 10dB(A) being added to the Lnight value.

Lnight is the A-weighted average sound level used to assess sleep disturbance over an 8 hour night time period.

See also Glossary of noise terms.

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What noise sources are considered?

The data presented in NOISE relates to:

  • First round noise maps which were to have been reported by member states by 30 December 2007 for major roads which have more than six million vehicle passages per year, major railways which have more than 60,000 train passages per year, major airports with more than 50,000 air traffic movements per year and transport sources and industry within agglomerations with more than 250,000 inhabitants.
  • Second round noise maps which were to have been reported by member states by 30 December 2012 for major roads which have more than three million vehicle passages per year, major railways which have more than 30,000 train passages per year, major airports with more than 50,000 air traffic movements per year and transport sources and industry within agglomerations with more than 100,000 inhabitants.

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Why can I not see data for combined exposure from all noise sources?

Unfortunately, the manner in which the data has been reported by member states does not permit a combined population exposure assessment for all noise sources. In most cases, the data has been reported for each noise source separately. Overall predictions for global assessment of exposure to noise have not yet been fully reported to EEA. This data has been requested on a voluntary basis by the END Reporting Mechanism and it is hoped that such data will be reported in future.  

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What is an agglomeration?

For the first round of noise mapping, an agglomeration is defined as part of a territory, delimited by the member state, as having a population in excess of 250,000 persons and a population density such that member state considers it to be an urbanised area.
 
For the second round of noise mapping, an agglomeration is defined as part of a territory, delimited by the member state, as having a population in excess of 100,000 persons and a population density such that member state considers it to be an urbanised area.

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Which agglomerations are presented in NOISE?

The agglomerations currently represented in NOISE are all the agglomerations considered by the Environmental Noise Directive: those considered by the first round of noise mapping ( i.e. those urban areas with a population in excess of 250,000 inhabitants) and those considered by the second round of noise mapping (i.e. those urban areas with a population in excess of 100,000 inhabitants).

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Why do some of the agglomeration boundaries not correspond to the actual urban area?

When reporting the locations of agglomerations to the Commission and EEA, many countries have used LAU2 codes to define the area (Local Administrative Units, municipalities or equivalent units). In some instance these may not reflect the exact geographical location of the urban area.

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Why are major road and rail networks displayed for only some countries?

Only data reported in a usable GIS format concerning the location of major road and rail networks is shown in the map-viewer.  

Major roads and major railways corresponding to the first round of noise maps (with a traffic higher than 6 million vehicles per year and with more than 60,000 train passages per year respectively) are displayed in white colour and those corresponding to the second round of noise maps (with a traffic higher than 3 million vehicles per year and with more than 30,000 train passages per year respectively) are displayed in grey colour.

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Which noise contour maps can I see on the viewer?

NOISE is designed to present an overview of the noise exposure data for Europe. Only some member states have reported noise contour maps in a usable Shapefile format. Those member states are listed in the bottom part of the viewer once you select 'Noise contour maps'. When you select a specific country, the available noise contour maps for that country are listed according to 2007 or 2012 delivery. You should select the reporting year of interest and then the relevant noise contour maps will be displayed in NOISE

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Where can I see other noise contour maps?

Member states have presented strategic noise maps at a national, regional and local level. In many cases, these are accessible on the web and in a map viewer format. A list of known links to national noise maps can be found here.

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How can I find out who is responsible for noise mapping in each country?

Downloading the complete noise database that can be found in the “Download noise exposure data” widget, competent authorities for noise mapping and for noise action planning can be consulted linked with the corresponding noise source, by selecting: “Data” & “Agglomerations, airports, rails and roads (DF1 and DF2, DF1_5)”.

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Where can I access other data reported in accordance with END?

Data delivered to Reportnet by EEA member countries in accordance with the END is available at the Eionet Central Data Repository.

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What data can be expected in the future?

Source data for the third round of assessment and action planning is due to be reported in 2015 covering the same noise sources than in the second round of noise mapping (agglomerations with more than 100,000 inhabitants, major roads with more than 3 million vehicles/year, major railways with more than 30,000 train passages/year and major airports with more than 50,000 movements/year). Thereafter, third round noise mapping data is expected to be reported by the end of 2017.

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Which browsers are supported by this map-viewer?

This map-viewer should work on any web browser compatible with Adobe Flash technology. It has been tested using Mozilla Firefox 23 and Internet Explorer 8. For best results it is recommended to view the maps with a high-resolution video card at a resolution of 1280 x 1024 and colours set to “True Colour(32bit)”.

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What is the Noise Reference layer?

The Noise Reference Layer, or NRL, is a database containing the spatial information provided by the EU Member States and EEA member countries in relation to the first and second implementation step of the Environmental Noise Directive. The NRL provides the spatial foundation upon which subsequently reported noise related data is based.

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How was the NRL created?

NRL has been created using ArcGIS 9 facilities — ArcCatalog 9.1, through the creation of a Personal Geodatabase (NoiseRefLayer.mdb) containing 4 different Feature datasets: one per each of the issues to be reported by the Directive: Agglomerations, Major Roads, Major Railways and Major Airports.

The four Feature Datasets are filled in by the different feature classes corresponding to the deliveries made by the member states concerning noise sources for the first and second implementation round (DF1 in 2005 and DF1_DF5 in 2010 - 2008), and concerning strategic noise maps for the first and second implementation round (DF4 in 2007 and DF4_DF8 in 2012). In order to enable the combination of all the information in a single reference layer, three attributes have been inserted in each feature class: country code, an identification code of the feature if provided by the country (codification system proposed by the ENDRM) and an internal identification code developed to organise the information and link it to the noise exposure data compiled in an Access database.

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What does the NRL, and consequently NOISE, contain?

Contents of the NRL:

  • Agglomerations: a total of 491 agglomerations have been included into the Reference Layer, distributed in 33 EEA member countries and collaborating countries (one country does not have any agglomeration above the threshold and another one has not yet reported the information).
  • Major roads: 26 EEA member countries provide data on people exposed to noise due to road transport networks with more than 3 million vehicles/year.
  • Major railways: 19 EEA member countries provide data on people exposed to noise due to railway transport networks with more than 30.000 train passages/year. Five EEA member countries and collaborating countries declared not having major major railways above the threshold specified by the END.
  • Major airports: a total of 92 airports have been included into the Reference Layer. These airports are distributed in 23 EEA member countries. Seven EEA member countries and collaborating countries declared not having any major airport above the threshold specified by the Directive (more than 50000 air traffic movements/year).

Contents of NOISE:

  • Total and relative number of people exposed to the different noise sources of the NRL and the corresponding noise contour maps (as delivered by the Member States under the END requirements) for 2007 and for 2012.
  • Change layer displaying net and relative change on the population exposure from 2007 to 2012 per each noise source in agglomerations and per major airports.

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What is included in the layer corresponding to changes?

The change layer contains changes occurring from 2007 to 2012 in agglomerations and major airports: the changes have been calculated only between the sources having two reporting dates for the number of people exposed to more than 55 dB Lden and more than 50 dB Lnight. Those entities where no changes can be derived have been shown in the viewer as “No change available”.

For major roads and major railways noise sources, changes have not been calculated due to the change in the vehicle flow threshold from first to second round. This change in the threshold indicates that approximately three times more length is being assessed under the END requirements, and therefore it would be expected that such an increase in length would imply an increase in the number of people reported as exposed to the EU noise indicators.

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What is included in the “Legend” widget window?

The NOISE legend shows the intervals in which noise exposure data reported for a specific noise source selected has been divided, independently of the scale of visualisation. This takes account of whether “Total” or “Relative” number of people is selected and also the newly introduced change layer.

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What is included in the “Exposure Statistics” widget window?

In the case of noise exposure data related to 2007 or 2012, you may view the data selected as either a graph or as a table of raw data. The raw data will contain unique codes assigned to each country and the name of the agglomeration or major airport. The following is a sample explanation of the codes used:

  • CTRYID means the country identification which will be abbreviated, e.g. AT for Austria.
  • NLN5054 means the number of people exposed to Lnight noise levels between 50 and 54.9 dB.
  • NLD6064 means the number of people exposed to Lden noise levels between 60 and 64.9 dB.

In the case of changes, you may view the data selected as either a graph (showing the total number of people exposed reported in 2007 and the total number of people exposed reported in 2012 per decibel bands and the total difference) or as a table of raw data. The codes contained in the raw data follow the same pattern previously described.

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Which is the functionality of the “Noise Sources” widget window?

The “Noise Sources” widget window allows the user to select which noise exposure information would like to visualise in the viewer. It is only possible to visualise a single value on noise exposure data each time you make a selection, due to the manner in which data has been reported in accordance with the END.

The data has been organised per:

  • item to be reported: Major Roads, Major Railways, Major Airports and Within agglomerations (which includes Roads, Railways, Airports and Industry),
  • noise indicator (Lden and Lnight),
  • level of exposure (≥ 55dB, ≥ 65dB and ≥ 75dB in the case of Lden and ≥ 50dB, ≥ 60dB and ≥ 70dB in the case of Lnight)
  • total or relative numbers of exposure.

Currently noise exposure data can be consulted for 2007 delivery, for 2012 delivery and temporal changes in the case of agglomerations and major airports.

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How have noise exposure categories been determined in the map?

To define the categories in which the noise exposure data is displayed, the statistical figure of “Natural Breaks (Jenks)” has been used, excluding from the computation the values referring to “Data not available” or to “Country that should not report on that particular item”. Values have been rounded to the nearest hundred.

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Which information is shown in the “Identify” tool?

The “Identify” tool enables you to consult specific information on noise exposure at the the most detailed level displayed in the viewer: at agglomeration or major airport level or at country level in the case of major roads and major railways.

It displays information about:

  • the country,
  • the name of the agglomeration or the name of the major airport,
  • details about the agglomeration and the major airport (population and area, and annual traffic respectively)
  • kilometres of major roads and major railways network
  • the exposure figure — total or percentage — that you are observing in the map and in the graph
  • if the information being displayed is under review or has some specificities to be highlighted, such as:
    • If the number of inhabitants have not been provided or updated; and the same with the number of movements in the case of major airports and with the length of major roads and major railways
    • If the exposure data is under review due to, e.g., more than 100% of the total population in an agglomeration is being exposed to a specific noise source; the number of people exposed to Lden is lower than the number of people exposed to Lnight; in case of major sources, the total number of people exposed outside agglomerations is higher than the total number of people exposed including agglomerations, etc.
When selecting the change layer from 2007 to 2012, “Identify” tool shows specifically information concerning the overall difference being observed at agglomeration level and at major airport level.

Which technology has been used to create NOISE?

The Noise Observation and Information Service of Europe (NOISE) platform has been designed and implemented following the principles of the Shared Environmental Information System of Europe (SEIS), especially concerning to interoperability of systems and the use of open-source software.

In this regard, the cartographic data can be visualized in a web browser using the NOISE Viewer, but can also be retrieved from EEA DiscoMap service using a wide range of protocols and technologies:

  • WMS protocol, which is a standar protocol regulated by the Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) and widely supported by most GIS tools..
  • ArcGIS server REST API.
  • ArcGIS server SOAP API.
  • Layers can also be exported to KML language.

The NOISE viewer uses the ArcGIS Server Flex API, which uses Adobe Flex technology on the client side (running on Adobe Flash plugin) and ArcGIS Server REST API on the server side.

 





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