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This Map of LAX Plane Noise is Weirdly Mesmerizing

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Follow airplanes and helicopters in real time as they fly loudly through the city

Ever wish you could track flight landings at LAX in real time, with accompanying data about noise pollution in the area? Even if the answer is no (and we're guessing it is), you might still want to check out the noise map that was released today by City Controller Ron Galperin. It turns out that watching colorful little airplane icons make their way across the city, leaving little bubbles of sound in their wake, is strangely addictive.

It also gives a sense of how different communities around the Los Angeles area are affected by nearby air traffic. And this is the point of the map, part of a "dashboard" released by Galperin to illustrate the impact of LAX on its surrounding environment. This collection of interactive maps and diagrams is meant to supplement the findings of his recent audit of the airports operated by the City of Los Angeles.

Also included in the dashboard are graphics detailing the air quality of neighborhoods around the airport and the greenhouse gas emissions produced by airplanes and other vehicles around LAX. The noise and air quality maps in particular highlight the quality of life impacts for residents living beneath LAX flightpaths.

Insightful data visualizations like these have been a hallmark of Galperin's tenure as controller. Last year, his office released a similar dashboard tracking the performance of the Department of Water and Power. This was part of the ongoing Control Panel LA project, which aims to "foster a culture of accountability, openness and innovation within City Hall" by providing easy-to-access information on city expenditures.