You Too Could Record the Earth
We have recently talked about making soundscapes from photographs and a group of professional recording artists joining forces to document the exquisite sounds of nature. The real world, no doubt, is much more sonically diverse and full. Is there a way to capture the characteristic sounds of the world we live in? Is there then a way for me to travel sonically to hear what you hear in another part of the world? Is there a way to record the earth? You guessed it—not only is there a way, but it is also being done as we speak.
Purdue University landscape ecology professor Bryan Pijanowski started a movement to indeed record the earth and citizen scientist’s the world over have joined him. All you need to do is download the Soundscape Recorder App, available for both iOS and Android operating systems, and go to work. Pijanowski asks you to record snippets, answer a few questions about the sound you are hearing and then upload to the burgeoning database already at over 5000 recordings. Those of us not ready to jump in and start recording snippets can just browse the database and listen to the wonderfully sonorous world we live in.
Pijanowski started the project to aide his work as a landscape ecologist and envisioned a more expansive reach by harnessing the power of crowd sourcing. However, it has quickly become clear that a database such as the one taking shape will be a valuable resource in monitoring ecosystems worldwide. Imagine using a sonic record just like we use the temperature record or fossil record to understand the natural history of our planet. Imagine using sounds like an early warning system to detect changes in nature and habitat. Imagine the world where not only our hearing but what we like to hear is preserved.