Welcome to Sounds of Europe, a platform for field recording. The blog of the website will travel to a different European country every month where a local organisation or artist will be responsible for maintaining it. Each country´s particular context and practices with regards to field recording will be explored and presented in a personal way.
Of Maps and mappings
01/27/2012 · julia@q-o2
A significant feature of phonographic activity in the UK seems to be the production of online sound maps as a way of sharing field recordings while keeping a close link between the sounds and their social context and place of production. The reasons behind these projects vary – some are the work of individual artists, others are commissioned and backed by large institutions while some arise out of  a community or educational initiative.

The British Library has a comprehensive collection of every publication produced in the UK and Ireland and includes treasures such as the Magna Carta and Leonardo da Vinci’s Notebook – it has also been part of the development of the UK Sound Map. This project was initiated by the Noise Futures Network, an academic research grouping funded to facilitate interdisciplinary research on future soundscapes, engage the public in soundscape research, and influence policy makers. The map contains 2167 recordings made by members of the public from all over the UK.

British internet artists Stanza collected the “first online open source found sound database of city sounds”. Initially this Soundcities database could be searched by name and type of sound but was  subsequently developed as a map with ‘click and play sounds’ which allowed people to upload their own city recordings as well as use the database recordings for laptop and other performances.

Peter Cusack has already been mentioned but his influential and long running “Favourite Sounds” project has a map displaying the results from many of the manifestations of this project which records the favourite sounds of a city or place chosen by it’s inhabitants. Some of the projects featured here were carried out by Cusack himself, others working with students and community.

Finally I would like to mentioned the London Sound Survey –  which looks at the sounds of London in a number of different ways such as the sounds of day and night with an attempt to analyse those sounds into their predominance by area; the sounds of London’s waterways; the variety of London wildlife both bird and mammal;  the changing land usage and the sounds of the past through historical recordings and literary texts. A interview with Ian Rawes the founder of The London Sound Survey can be found on Mark Peter Wright’s Ear Room site.

For all those inspired enough to try making a sound map for themselves Ian Rawes  instructions can be found here. 

Finally guide to the kinds of sound maps ” Atlas Sound: A typography of Sound Maps’ can be found here on the Weird Vibrations site.