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Send your eyes and ears on holiday with a 3D soundscape in Google Maps


If you feel like heading to Hawaii today, you’re in luck. An experimental platform adds sound to Google Maps, so that you can explore locations online in a multi-sensory way. Just enter the Sounds of Street View website to listen to waves lapping the shore and happy holidaymakers on Hapuna Beach, Hawaii.

If a city square is more your style, you can switch locations to Place du Palais, France or chill out in Balboa Park, San Diego.

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Sounds of Street View was created by Amplifon, a company that creates products that help people to regain the sense of hearing.

The creators believe that much of our digital exploration can be enhanced with sound, the press release states:

It’s one of the most important human senses, which affects how we observe the world and how we interact, such as giving us an ultimate sense of direction or knowing when danger is upon us – Sound. Thousands of people every day experience the world digitally without this key sense, and it’s our wish at Amplifon to fill this void.

Amplifon created the 3D experience by embedding sounds into Google Maps like standard markers. Instead of containing text and images, these markers contain sounds.

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The company calculated the distance between people and the markers as if Street View was a sphere, so that as people navigate the map, the sound changes according to their location. For users who are wearing headphones, the volume and filtering will be different for each ear depending on your bearings on the map. This creates a stereophonic experience.

The platform imitates the effect of the shape of the ear on our hearing; sound is brighter in front and duller behind.

Sound does not travel in a straight line but follows a special route that you can calculate through the Inverse Law of Sound, if you happen to be a fan of physics. Amplifon applies this formula to the Street View sounds, making the experience as realistic as possible.

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The company hopes to encourage people to create a gallery of sound-infused street views. Developers with minimal experience can create their own versions of Sounds of StreetView by following the six easy steps on the site.

Amplifon’s project turns Google Maps into an interactive soundscape; using science to let people enjoy the sights and sounds of a location straight from their screens.

Sounds of Street View

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