Map Monday: Noise Maps of Minnesota and the Twin Cities

A while ago I came across an interactive noise map of the globe. Punch in a location and it pops up a map. Zooming out to a state-level seems to remove the noise data, this is a large as I could screen grab.

Noise Map 2016

Click to enlarge

Interesting to see this above noise map rates industrial zoned for consideration for noise but it doesn’t look like it includes sites like gravel pits.

I’d also come across this map published by the National Park Service for noise in the United States. Bordering on being not more than a population map, you can see some areas of oil extraction show up in North Dakota and Texas. Continental noise maps aren’t as useful when looking for noise by neighborhoods.


Click to enlarge. (Source: National Park Service)

National Park Noise Map of USA

MPR published an article from “NPR Staff” that highlighted a noise map from Bureau of Transportation Statistics. This differed from the two above maps in that it includes the airport noise maps lacking in the others.

Minneapolis Saint Paul airport noise

Click to enlarge. Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

I’ve zoomed in to this map and it appears there are some graphical glitches in the data. There are some interesting strange noise lines happening up by the Crystal Airport that don’t seem to fit a pattern of airplane use, a strange noisy elbow around Ramsey and another one by Buffalo. Just south of Lake Minnetonka there are single sources that top the charts with noise along TH 7. Glitches? Or maybe there is something noisy happening there?

Still, I found this map among the more useful noise maps simply for the inclusion of airport noise.

Eric Anondson

About Eric Anondson

Born in St. Louis Park and lived there nearly 28 years but has been living in Hopkins since 2008. Eric's hopped around two years or so at a time in Loring Park, Laurel Village, Snellby, Whittier, and Golden Valley. He works in downtown Minneapolis. On Twitter as @xeoth.

3 thoughts on “Map Monday: Noise Maps of Minnesota and the Twin Cities

    1. Eric AnondsonEric Anondson

      I thought the Bloomington gap was a glitch, but I’m not sure anymore. The airport noise profiles seem rather straight, a bit of widening towards the ends where planes begin turning, but what’s with the sharp hook into western Richfield.

      I agree with you about highway noise. I live in a part of Hopkins where that’s outside the highway noise map colors. However 169 passes through on a very long viaduct, with no walls, over Excelsior, rails, a local street, a skate park and a couple commercial properties. It’s high enough to be above the SuperValu distribution warehouse that separates the highway from the residential. The warehouse is as effective of a noise barrier as a lake because of the height of the bridge. I would wager there are competing algorithms for how far highway noise “counts”, and all of them run into real world strange effects unique to those places.

    2. Justin Doescher

      We should be capping freeways at every opportunity. That would really cut down on the noise.

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