Environmental Noise (individual Assignment)
I. Purpose and Objectives
The overall purpose of this activity is to conduct a study of the environmental noise
occurring across the NAU campus. Environmental noise is only the noise that occurs
and is measured outside. Generally the types of environmental noise that you will
encounter will included 1) noise from specific sources, 2) ambient noise resulting from
the combined noise of all sources, and 3) residual noise occurring when a specific noise
source is not included.
The overall objective of this activity is to report on environmental noise occurring across
the NAU campus by determining the following.
1. The distribution of the ambient environmental noise,
2. The change in environmental ambient noise with respect to time,
3. The location and characteristics of specific environmental noise sources that are
noticeably elevated above the residual noise, and
4. The change in specific environmental noise sources with respect to time and
This an individual assignment.
II. General Description of Study Areas
The area of interest is the Flagstaff NAU main campus. While noise occurring along the
boundary of this area may actually be from off-campus sources, as long as these noises
are audible on campus, they are considered to contribute to the on-campus
environmental ambient noise.
III. Data Collection Approach and Methods
The environmental noise data will be collected by using smartphone apps (apps
available on note pads, iPad, etc. may also be used).
1. Organize and plan how you will collect your data. This is done by preparing a work
a) describes each noise source and their type (ambient or point),
b) describes your intended noise data collecting procedures (how will you conduct
the measurement) for ambient noise, point source noise and residual noise
c) describes what you will do to manage and save your collected data to avoid
losing it, and
d) present a schedule for when the measurements will be taken.
2. Smartphone (or note pads, iPads, etc.) apps used must be able to continuously
collect noise data over a set or specified time of sampling. The app used must also
be able export that data. Being able to change the update frequency (how quickly a
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noise value is sampled) and being able to change the duration of time that the
measurement is conducted are desirable features. The time and location of the
noise data collected may be captured either by the noise app used or by some other
method such as sending your location to yourself. Do not use any noise app that
depends on an external server or website to access your data. Be aware that there
may be a small charge for a noise app or its upgrade features, however there are
free apps that can be found which are perfectly acceptable.
3. Sources may be considered either a point source or a line source. Noise from a
point source should be measured at a minimum of three different directions around
the source (at the same distance away); one direction being directly downwind of
the source. Noise from a line source should be measured along the length of the
source at different locations (each at the same distance away). Additionally, with
both point and line sources, measurements conducted along a line at different
distance away from the source should also be done. Examples of a point source
would be a jack hammer or other equipment at a construction site, or an exhaust
blower or compressor associated with a building HVAC system. Examples of a line
source (relative to what routinely contributes to environmental noise on campus)
would be a road or a highway.
4. When measuring noise, the phone’s microphone should be point toward the source
and positioned from 1 to 1.5 meter above the ground. To the extent possible, the
way you conduct your measurement should be consistent.
5. An alternate approach for measuring noise from a point source that has a relatively
constant noise is to walk in a line (or along a path) past the source for an equal
distance on either side of the source. This can be done so that the path will pass
close to the source or at some distance away from the source (such as that defined
by a sidewalk).
6. When measuring residual noise, you must have a specific point source (or sources)
that can be removed or silenced, or that will otherwise become quite on their own.
Otherwise you are measuring ambient noise, which includes all noises.
7. Be sure to document how you actually collect data. This will be a component of
IV. Report Due Date and a Scheduling Guide.
1. The final report is due on or before November 9, 2017.
2. The following recommended schedule is provided as a very general guide for
progressing through this activity. You are neither required to follow this
recommended schedule nor required to submit interim deliverables unless
specifically requested to do so below.
a) Before September 5th. Complete NAU’s field Safety Training before collecting
any noise data that is used in your report. Go to
and complete this training; it will take about 45 minutes. This training is
required by NAU Environmental Health and Safety. The certification of having
completed this field training must be included in your final report.
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b) Before September 5th. Download the noise app you will use.
c) By September 10th or no later than September 12th, Prepare your work plan and
submit it for verification that this was done. Please note that you are
encouraged to update your work plan as necessary throughout the data
d) Between September 10th and October 31st. Collect environmental noise data
and to the extent possible, begin documenting your work in the form of a draft
report. This includes conducting your data analyses. This does not need to be
e) Between October 31st and November 9th. Prepare and submit your final report.
V. Final Report and Data Deliverable Requirements.
Your overall success or failure with this activity depends not only the data collected and
analyzed in support of achieving the 4 objectives above, but also on your final report.
The following provides minimum requirements for the overall organization and content
of the report.
Files to be submitted:
1. The report (a doc or docx AND a pdf)
2. A single Excel file (xls or xlsx) containing all raw data used, and all analysis of data
including development of plots and charts.1. Introduction and Purpose (Objective)
1. Introduction and Purpose (Objective)
2. Measurement Locations
a) describe the locations and types of noises
b) explain how the location is used to achieve the objective
3. Measurement Device
a) describe the phones/apps used
b) discuss the features of the apps used
4. Implementation of Work Plan
a) refer to the original work plan (what does it contain?)
b) describe/explain variances from the work plan
a) data summary (no raw data; indicate location of raw data within the
b) plots/charts (clearly indicate what a plot/chart is intended to present)
6. Conclusion and Observations
a) What are your conclusions with respect to each objective?
b) What other overall observations or conclusions can you make regarding the use
of the devices, the noises and comparisons between different noise types?
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