NoiseMap version 5.3.0 Beta with features for High Speed Rail

We have been busy adding features to NoiseMap five over the last 12 months, particularly in relation to high speed rail.

NoiseMap 5.3.0 Beta 4 is now available to clients on a limited basis.

If your maintenance is current, then you may download a copy of this now – please contact us with your licence (dongle) number and we will direct you to the download page.  If maintenance is not current, then please contact us for a quotation to update it. The cost  remains unchanged at present

The main new features are:

  • Users can specify the attenuation curves for noise barriers for each noise source on the railway vehicle.  This can take into account differences in source spectra and absorption characteristics of the barrier. Any number of different curves can be specified.
  • Pantographs (power collectors on top of the train) are directional sources which change with speed.  This can particularly affect the Lmax values. Users can now specify the directivity and attenuation rate of pantograph noise.
Multiple Diffraction

NoiseMap assesses the effect of multiple diffracting edges (i.e. multiple barriers between the source and the receiver) using a procedure that combines the two most effective single barriers by taking into account their separation distance. This is similar to, but not identical with, the procedure stated in ISO 9613.  However, the ISO does not state how to deal with the issue of many barriers between the source and receiver.  The CNOSSOS-EU procedure assumes that the propagation path is in the form of a ‘convex hull’ over the tops of all the barriers, and then uses the path difference between the convex hull and the direct ray, although this procedure does not deal with the effect of differing barrier absorption.   Work on resolving the issues and implementing a new procedure for multiple diffraction is being implemented.  It is expected that a Beta version incorporating this additional feature will be released soon.


We have implemented a number of changes that improve the efficiency and speed of the calculation process.

New Video Guides

Video Guides provide an accessible way to learn how to use sophisticated software.  It’s the way we learn nowadays.  So over the last few months, we have been creating Video Guides that take you through the steps of using NoiseMap.

The first Episode shows you how to use a map image to create a noise model.  The next Episode shows how to add building outlines, then how to add receivers and do calculation.  Later episodes major on Noise Barriers, and the most recent shows how to create a noise contour from a measurement – or more correctly, how to calibrate a noise map from a measurement.

We have ideas for more video guides, but suggestions are always welcome – we do want to respond to our users’ ideas and needs.

Also we have recently been asked to provide some practical examples of using Script Files.  If you are interested in a copy of the examples, please contact us –

NoiseMap five v5.2.10

NoiseMap five v5.2.10 was released 29th October 2018
This fixes a problem found only by users of Windows 7 who upgraded to NoiseMap 5.2.9.  This is because Windows 7 has a different method of allocating memory compared with Windows 10. NoiseMap Version 5.2.10 is compatible with both Windows 7 and 10.  Windows 10 users running version 5.2.9 do not need to upgrade, but may do so if they wish.

NoiseMap 5.2.9 Full release

NoiseMap 5.2.9 has now been given a full release.
(versions 5.2.7 and 5.2.8 were not released publicly)

Users are strongly advised not to run different versions of NoiseMap on the same database, as this can lead to problems.

ISO9613-2 Barrier Calculation
The headline feature in this release is a new ISO9613-2 barrier calculation option.  This option is part of the SiteNoise Calculation module, which is based on BS5228 with enhancements.

This adds to the existing barrier calculation options in the SiteNoise module, so now you can choose from:

  • ISO9613-2 barrier calculation
  • BS5228 simple barrier calculations,
  • BS5228 octave band spectrum barrier calculations,
  • CRTN barrier calculations.

The ISO calculation requires octave band noise source data, as the attenuation  is evaluated for each octave. The ISO procedure has a ‘meteorological correction’ which has the effect of reducing the path difference used to calculate the barrier attenuation.  This correction is used to take into account the scattering of sound into the barrier’s shadow zone, caused by atmospheric turbulence under downwind propagation. This means that the barrier attenuation will be less than calculated by some other procedures.

It should also be noted that the NoiseMap implementation does not include the effect of diffraction around the vertical edges of barriers.  The procedures described in the ISO provide for propagation over the top edges of multiple barriers one behind the other, but do not describe how diffraction from the vertical edges of multiple barriers should be assessed.  This is an issue that other authors have commented on and various work-arounds have been suggested.

Although in particular circumstances (with a source and receiver just grazing the vertical edge, and with no other significant sources or barriers) this may lead to under-prediction, in general this is not considered to be a material issue.

It may also be noted that it is unclear as to how the ISO expects ground correction to be assessed in the presence of a barrier.  This is again the subject of debate amongst authors.  NoiseMap will assume hemispherical radiation (i.e. the presence of a ground reflection) and will correct this value either for the soft ground effect, or the barrier effect, but not both, using whichever gives the lower noise level.

NoiseMap Ltd has discussed these issues with a number of experts and considers that this is a reasonable implementation of the method.

Other Improvements
NoiseMap is currently being used on several large, demanding projects with multiple remote users accessing the system over the internet.  Under intensive use, this puts a heavy load on both client and server machines. We have made some internal changes to improve the efficiency of the process and reduce the demands on the server and internet.

A new release of the User Manuals is now pending.

Many new scripting options have been added – allowing you to import and export Categories and Combinations, and to export full analysis of calculation details for receiver points.

NoiseMap 5.2.6 Full Release

We have now released NoiseMap 5.2.6 which incorporates recent updates.

This release allows 500 categories and combinations (increased from 100) and has been issued in response to requests.
It is also now possible to import categories and combinations from a csv file.  This change has the side-effect that NoiseMap Archives (.nma type files) will not be compatible with NoiseMap 5.2.4 or earlier versions, although archives from earlier versions will be compatible with NoiseMap 5.2.5.

A number of other minor updates have been made, including a check for duplicate receivers in the automated checking procedure and improvements to the ‘find’ function. A ‘start of chain’ and ‘direction’ symbol has been added to railway tracks. The database previewer now includes the parent tiles by default when previewing a scenario.

Database Admin Tool

We have also taken the opportunity to release an update to the Database Administration Tool and to the NoiseMap Backup utility NMBackup.exe, which is now version 0.9.19.

Restoring from *.nmbackup to *.nmdb

Some users had problems using the previous version of the NMBackup utility when trying restore a *.nmbackup database file to a *.nmdb backup file.  This update fixes the problem. Users have been able to restore databases of hundreds of megabytes using the NMBackup utility. At present, this is an informal operation and has not yet been given a GUI interface.  You will need to do it from a command line window.  Please contact us for instructions.

NoiseMap 5.2.5 Test Release

NoiseMap 5.2.5 was issued as a test release on 15th January 2018.   This release allows 500 categories and combinations (increased from 100) and has been issued in response to requests.
It is also now possible to import categories and combinations from a csv file.

This change has the side-effect that NoiseMap Archives (.nma type files) will not be compatible with NoiseMap 5.2.4 or earlier versions, although archives from earlier versions will be compatible with NoiseMap 5.2.5

A number of other minor updates have been made, including a check for duplicate receivers in the automated checking procedure and improvements to the ‘find’ function. A ‘start of chain’ and ‘direction’ symbol has been added to railway tracks. The database previewer now includes the parent tiles by default when previewing a scenario.

[NoiseMap 5.2.4 became the current full release in October 2017.]


NoiseMap 5.2.4 Test Release

This release, dated 13/09/2017, tests a number of enhancements particularly for NoiseMap five RailNoise module.  These include increasng the number of barriers that are included during noise barrier assessment, detailed output of intermediate calculation steps, support for more versions of MySQL, additional backup and restore options and the ability to address more instances of the remote databasebase through a single SSL tunnel.

A further enhancement gives the user more control over the way that NoiseMap responds to missing results when post-processing.

These are mainly ‘under the hood’ enhancements.  However, the ability to output intermediate calculation steps has necessitated the addition of a new column in the Calculation Queue, which means that NoiseMap 5.2.4 automatically adds an extra column to the database.  Once NoiseMap 5.2.4 has been used on a remote database, it will no longer be possible for earlier versions to add calculations to the queue.

As always, we recommend that users upgrade all their instances of NoiseMap at the same time.

NoiseMap 5.2.1 Released

NoiseMap 5.2.1 adds new features as specially requested by users.
These are:

  • The function that automatically generates receiver points around buildings can be set to put receivers only on buildings that contain an address point.  This means that you are less likely to generate receivers around unoccupied buildings
  • The Find function contains a new option to only match text where it is at the beginning or end of an identifier. This lets you be more selective in finding addresses, etc.
  • The SiteNoise source contribution breakdown csv output file heading “SPL” has been changed to “PWL” to clarify that it is the sound power level and not the sound pressure level.

Some other internal changes have also been made to improve reliability of operation.

NoiseMap five operates with all current versions of Windows, so there is no need to use an out-of-date version of Windows or NoiseMap for reasons of compatibility.

We only issue new releases when we believe there are genuine improvements.  It is our policy to ensure backwards and forwards compatibility if at all practicable.

The London Noise Map

I’m often asked “what happened to the London Noise Map, as I found it so useful”.

I was the project manager for the London (Road Traffic) Noise Map which was published in 2004 – which seems a long time ago now.  Defra got us to do many presentations about the map and the reception was enthusiastic. But the maps have to be re-done every five years under the European Directive, so by now they have been re-done twice – in 2004 and in 2014.

The London Road Traffic Noise Map was done in far greater detail than required by the EU Directive, which only requires broad statistics on the number of people exposed to certain levels of noise  in ‘agglomerations’ and alongside major noise sources.

It seems that when the maps were re-done, it was decided not to publish the detailed maps, but only the statistics.  I am not sure whether these statistics can show whether areas are getting noisier or quieter, as there has been a significant growth in population over this time, and this will inevitably mean that number exposed to noise will increase even if the noise sources stay the same.

I am intending to do a bit of work on this and I hope to be able to report back.

I have even been asked if I have copies of the original map that I can supply.  I’m afraid that I can’t do this, as it is copyrighted by Defra, and in any case it is likely to be out of date.  I will look into how people might be able to produce maps of smaller ares of interest from recent data.


NoiseMap 5.2 Now released!

NoiseMap 5.2 was released to all licensed users on 18th January 2017!  If your maintenance is current, you will be able to upload this now, without paying any extra.

If your maintenance has lapsed, contact us now for special update offers, available for a limited period only.

It contains over 30 major enhancements on version 5.1.  These can be summarised as follows:

  • New results processor, including:
    •  calculation of sum/ difference of combined road, rail and site sources;
    • comparison with noise criteria based on multiple result sets (e.g. criteria for noise insulation);
  • Simultaneous loading of multiple results;
  • Importing receiver results from external file for use in results processing. e.g. as noise criteria;
  • Output of source contribution file for on-the-fly receiver calculations – useful for design of mitigation;
  • Improvements to import/export functionality;
  • Scaling of DXF import when not in metres;
  • Better handling of Activities in SiteNoise;
  • Negative track corrections in RailNoise;
  • Usability improvements, including
    • more hotkeys,
    • better error checking,
    • enhanced ‘Find’ function, more Scripting functions,
    •  improvements to information boxes,
    • Updated User Manuals and Example databases and context-sensitive help.

The new main features of NoiseMap 5.2 in more detail:

You can add, subtract and perform all sorts of advanced functions on your contour and receiver results, and then view and export the result.

For example, you can easily write a function to highlight locations qualifying for noise insulation.

You can also import receiver noise levels and use them as criteria for identifying locations that might exceed limit values.

To save you time, you can write a function and store it as a script file which can be easily imported to do complex analysis.

For our specialist users, we have improved the ability to import railway services covering any number of trains and railway tracks.

You can export calculations line-by-line to an external spreadsheet.  this can be used to check and improve mitigation, for example.

Many small improvements have been made ‘under the bonnet’, including testing with Windows 10 – Noisemap is compatible with every current version of Windows (and most historic versions too).

It is fully compatible with earlier versions of NoiseMap five. So when you upgrade, you need have no fear that your old models will stop working. Importing from NoiseMap 2000 Enterprise is still straightforward, too.