App Tells You What Earth Sounds Like Today

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If you’re planning on taking a virtual tour of the planet for Earth Day, a new app for citizen scientists could provide the soundtrack.

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The app was originated by Purdue University landscape ecology professor Bryan Pijanowski, a self-described “rainforest soundscaper.” His goal is to get as many smartphone-wielding people around the world as possible to record snippets of local sound, answer short questions about how they feel and upload it for Earth Day. Hat tip Wired’s Brandon Keim.

Pijanowski’s request isn’t just a cool way to eavesdrop on ambient sound around the world — there’s also scientific component. He usually works in remote deserts and rainforests. A more expansive database will help him better understand how ecosystems are faring worldwide. “We should get a sense of whether and how we’re making this a noisier planet, which I think we’re doing,” he told Wired.

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The Soundscape Recorder app is free for Apple and Android devices, but it does require the latest operating system — at least it did for me. Fortunately it’s all about recording sound, and not something like smell or taste. I’ll leave those aspects of Earth Day to my imagination.

Photo: Purdue University professor Bryan Pijanowski with sound equipment in the jungle. His app invites citizen scientists worldwide to record sound nearby for Earth Day. Credit: Global Soundscapes, YouTube.

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