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Pervasive and Mobile Computing

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Noise map reconstruction, Participatory urban sensing, Context-aware sensing, Crowdsourcing


A noise map facilitates the monitoring of environmental noise pollution in urban areas. It can raise citizen awareness of noise pollution levels, and aid in the development of mitigation strategies to cope with the adverse effects. However, state-of-the-art techniques for rendering noise maps in urban areas are expensive and rarely updated (for months or even years), as they rely on population and traffic models rather than on real data. Smart phone based urban sensing can be leveraged to create an open and inexpensive platform for rendering up-to-date noise maps. In this paper, we present the design, implementation and performance evaluation of an end-to-end, context-aware, noise mapping system called Ear-Phone. Ear-Phone investigates the use of different interpolation and regularization methods to address the fundamental problem of recovering the noise map from incomplete and random samples obtained by crowdsourcing data collection. Ear-Phone, implemented on Nokia N95, N97 and HP iPAQ, HTC One mobile devices, also addresses the challenge of collecting accurate noise pollution readings at a mobile device. A major challenge of using smart phones as sensors is that even at the same location, the sensor reading may vary depending on the phone orientation and user context (for example, whether the user is carrying the phone in a bag or holding it in her hand). To address this problem, Ear-Phone leverages context-aware sensing. We develop classifiers to accurately determine the phone sensing context. Upon context discovery, Ear-Phone automatically decides whether to sense or not. Ear-Phone also implements in-situ calibration which performs simple calibration that can be carried out by general public. Extensive simulations and outdoor experiments demonstrate that Ear-Phone is a feasible platform to assess noise pollution, incurring reasonable system resource consumption at mobile devices and providing high reconstruction accuracy of the noise map.

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