Citizen Groups Win Airport Noise Monitoring Web Site

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Vancouver International Airport's neighboring public (and the world) now has access to a new Web site that combines NAV CANADA radar data and Airport Authority noise data to geographically display aircraft noise intensity and facilitate near-immediate public comment. The system, called WebTrak, also retains historical data -- meaning that people can check their clock (and calendar, up to 30 days), go online, and use the system to identify precisely which aircraft is now or was earlier the most audibly pleasant, the most annoying or anything in between. If a user is unable to deduce the exact offending aircraft but is willing to input where they were when they heard it, WebTrak will even offer up likely candidates. Air carriers may be comforted to know that aircraft are identified upon mouse-over not by giant company logos but by type, speed and elevation. Noise is depicted separately with the aid of small circles on the map that change color and shape while numerically displaying decibel levels. The WebTrak site states that "for aviation security reasons" aircraft tracks are delayed by 10 minutes and no military flight information is included. That said, the site does make lodging an aircraft-specific or general complaint or comment quite simple. What airport authorities do with the information remains to be seen.

There are 20 noise-monitoring stations in the Vancouver area, according to Canada.com, and the Web site is the result of lobbying by Surrey Citizens Against Aircraft Noise with help from the Surrey Airspace Taskforce. The groups were moved to action following the airport's implementation of new flight paths.