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Measuring The World

This has been a short and very interesting seminar. There is a good balance between the theoretical and practical part. Sensory and data collection, their analysis together with data from other sources or data mining, as well as experimental design, give rise to a master’s degree of its own.

Sense-Making Journal: Waves

MDEF: Measuring the world / A world in data activity report. ***We Only Want Group members: Manuja Agnohotri, Nicolò Baldi, Flora Rose Elise Berkowitz, Anthuanet Falcon Quispe, Flora Rose Elise Berkowitz and Albert Vila Bonfill

Journal Index [TOC]

Objectives -> Hypothesis


Brainstorming process PXL_20240207_105158998.MP_red PXL_20240207_110642647.MP_red

Project Goals

Objective: We want to hear the sea waves in the city.


Questions: * Can we hear the sound of the waves from 300m from the beach? * Does the rhythm of the waves change in the different beaches of Barcelona? * Does the noise of the sea improve the quality of life of the citizens? * Are the levels of noise pollution in Barcelona harmful to citizens? * Does the frequencies of the waves resonate with the ones from the body? * How does the prices differ from living near the sea than to live further away? * How is living by the sea percieved as a currency?


If noise pollution in Barcelona is reduced sufficiently to allow the sound of sea waves to be audible from a distance of 300+ meters from the beach, it can improve the quality of life of the citizens and improve biodiversity.

Reducing Barcelona city noise enables audible beach waves, benefiting well-being and biodiversity.


In order to collect this data properly, it is important to choose the correct tool. We required a tool that can sense noise and distance.

We wanted to ensure that we were able to measure the distance of the waves from land and how loud or softer the sound of the waves can get.

We also wanted to gather data from natural sources like using our ears and walking to check the data gathered.

Lastly, we wanted to find out if living by the sea is a privilege, how it affects mental well being of humans and how it improves biodiveristy. We also wanted to see if living by the sea or the ocean can also be percieved as a currency.

hypothesis -> data

Tools selection

We chose the smart citizen kit as it allowed us to use the GPS tracker, the microphone and the noise decibel sensor. It was the perfect tool to measure the distance between the waves and land, and to measure the decible of the sound of the waves and how loud it can get.



Tool usage documentation

There are multiple open source tools that helped us with the smart citizen kit: - - - - -

Data capturing strategy

We planned to go to the nearby beach at Poblenou. We started measuring data by first placing the microphone and the smart citizen kit at the distance of 400 meters from the beach, then 300, then 200, then 100 and then finally at a stone right next to the beach.

We measured the sound levels from all distances to check if the waves were audible and how the noise of the city can affect these sounds.

We then inserted the SD card into our laptop to check the data and after multiple technical difficulties, we were finally able to see the data.

IMG_9695 IMG_9708

IMG_9693 IMG_1977

Materials needed

Smart citzen kit Microphone device


Measurement of Urban Noise Pollution:

  • Utilize strategically placed the Smartcitizen to assess and record noise pollution levels in various coastal urban zones.
  • Identify common sources of noise, such as vehicular traffic, industrial activity, and urban events, to comprehend their impact on the acoustic quality of the environment.


Detail setup instructions

  • Check if the smart citizen has enough battery
  • Turn on the smart citizen kit
  • Configure the sensors needed - in our case we needed the GPS tracker and the noise sensor
  • Configure the kit with wifi from your phone
  • Do a sample test to check if the data is being gathered correctly
  • Do multiple checks, to ensure it is working
  • Start gathering the data

Data collected

Raw Data from smart citizen kit RawData - Google Sheets RawData - Google Sheets2 RawData - Google Sheets3


We expereinced a lot of difficulties with the kit and making sure it was gathering data and information correctly, make sure the SD card is inserted at all times, ensure the kit is working and do tests before hand to avoid wasting time.

data -> information

Data summary

Point One (1)

Learning Outcomes

Conclusion of the Results

We concluded that the city noises are much louder than the natural noises of the beach. We were only able to hear the beach from a 100 meters away and it was mixed with traffic sounds.

Using the sensor also helped us in realising that it requires a lot of patience and experimenting.

The data we gathered also was an enlightening expereince to realise that it would be much nicer to hear natural noises more than the noises of the city. We were able to gather small amounts of data for our first try, but we would like to gather more data by speaking to people and understanding how their quality of life could improve by living closer to the beach.


The first mistake we encountered was that the sensors did not work, even after a few reboots, the kit was not working. We realised it was an error and had to continue our process on the second day.



Future explorations

Thank you <3


Final presentation

Tools and techniques
  • Orange Data Mining software is a user-friendly open-source tool for data visualization, analysis, and machine learning. It offers a visual programming interface to create workflows for tasks such as data preprocessing, modeling, and evaluation, making it accessible to both beginners and experts in data science. Https://
  • Web scraping is the automated process (can be done manually) of extracting data from websites, typically using software tools to navigate web pages and gather information for analysis or storage. You can use, for example, Python libraries like BeautifulSoup or even ChatGPT with some plugins.
  • Open Data is data that is freely available for anyone to access, use, modify, and share without restrictions. This data is typically made available in digital formats and is released by governments, organizations, or individuals with the intention of promoting transparency, collaboration, and innovation.
  • Zenodo is an open-access digital repository and data archive operated by CERN, facilitating the sharing, preservation, and citation of research outputs across various disciplines.


Some quick random thoughts:

  • Sometimes what may seem like the best tool for collecting data is not always the one that best fits our purpose.
  • It is important to combine different types of measurement tools and not ignore those that are less technological.
  • Good analyzes can allow us to visualize many things.
  • Combining our observations with other sources of information is vital to understand synergies between factors.