The Calculations

The basic calculations are available for every SoundPLAN licenses. For calculations of certain mapping calculations the respective module must be licensed. For the calculation of road noise, of course the road noise module must be present, likewise for train noise, industry noise, indoor noise, aircraft noise and for the air pollution calculations.

The basic calculation options however are needed in every license and as they all behave the same way, the functions are described here.

On top you see a Grid Noise Map in progress on a PC that has 12 logical cores. It is a characteristic of the SoundPLAN Calculation Core that it assigns a matrix of 9x9 calculations to a thread and also to a client that does Distributed Computing. In order not to have calculations done over again, the calculations initially look like a patchwork blanket.

On the left a single receiver calculation is depicted. with the threads reduced to 1, otherwise 12 diagrams would be presented at basically the same time.

The Batch Process

All SoundPLAN calculations are recorded in a spreadsheet. SoundPLAN has many calculation types, many of them have sub-types. For example the Outdoor Noise can have the following sub types:


Calculate Single receiver points


Grid Noise Maps


Facade Noise Maps


Meshed Noise Map


Cross Sectional Noise Map


Noise Allotment


WallDesign for Single Receivers


WallDesign for Facade Noise Maps

For each calculation type some basic definitions are needed and often some extra tabs for specific information pertaining to the requested operation.

The basic functions

For noise calculations the basic settings are needed to


select the Geo-Files and Situations for the calculation


how to calculate a single receiver


what standards to use


how to get from simple results to complex Noise Assessments


statistical information


description what you want to accomplish with this calculation


result file number = where can you find you result

Standards and Assessments

A unique feature in SoundPLAN is that it gives the user a lot of flexibility to assess the noise. If the number of vehicles are entered with the average daily traffic volume and a day history or for industrial calculations if there is a day histogram of the sound power, the program can be very flexible with noise assessment time slots.

By clicking on the "Add" button, you can generate a new time slot and select the time definition, declare if it is Leq or Lmax and define the noise limits and penalties.

For example the Lden is calculated by defining the Lday, Levening, Lnight and then averaging the results over the 24 hours of the day with 5 dB added to the evening and 10 dB added at night.

These definitions are part of the SoundPLAN Assessment library which you can amend or modify.

Zoning and Noise Limits

In SoundPLAN every receiver regardless if it is a stand alone receiver or part of a noise map, needs to know the noise limit that applies to it. The easiest way to do this is to define usage areas that are a school or a residential area or hospital.

As part of the noise assessment you can define the noise limit for all time slots for all possible zones. The Usage short key cannot be changed but the longer description can be customized. For each zone type in Your Noise Limit for all time slots and if it applies the penalties to the calculated noise levels (5 dB or 10 dB for evening and night time for example).


For all noise calculations a DGM is required! The DGM is part of a Situation but sometimes it is handy to generate the DGM not only for a single tile but for a huge area tile by tile, this can easily be accomplished from the Calculations.



How to get the most out of your PC?

Modern PCs have multi core processors. Mine has 6 physical and 12 logical cores, that means that the fastest calculations I get when I allow the PC to use 12 cores. Using more than 12 will slow the system down. If I use my PC as the master for a Distributed Computing calculation where my PC does all the house keeping or I plan to work while the calculations go on in the background, I reduce the number of threads I allocate to the calculation.

When you use 12 cores or 24 cores for a dual processor PC, keep in mind that each of the threads will have to use memory so enough memory must be on board of the PC, otherwise the PC will swap data to the hard disk and then the calculation advantage of a multi core PC turns into a disadvantage. Check this in the Windows Task Manager.  If you are running short of memory, use less threads and see your hardware dealer for a memory upgrade.

Result File Numbers

SoundPLAN is not only designed to have multiple input files which are organized in Geo-Files and assembled in Situations, it also was designed to host multiple results of the same result type. The highlighted column in the picture on the left shows the result file number. Start a new calculation and SoundPLAN will pick the next free number for you, but if you want to organize your project with active control of the file numbers, feel free:


1..100: tests, DGMs etc


101..200: the noise analysis


201..300: prognosis for time horizon 5 ears


301..400: prognosis with new arterial road xyz

If a number is already in use SoundPLAN will inform you.

You can find the result files in the Tabular Results, Spreadsheet or in the Graphics. The selection is always guided, If you want to create a Graphic with a Grid Noise Map and select the Grid Noise Map, all available numbers will show up in a table along with a commentary that you can write for each of the calculations



The Settings are your Proof

You can open the results of the calculation and the RUN Information will be part of the result file. When you wan to modify any of the settings of a calculation that is already done, you are asked to first delete the results first as the results after your modification would no longer be valid.

Document the calculations

Each calculation has a run name that is only for you to remember what a calculation was all about.

Each calculation has a description field. If you ever have worked on an ex-colleagues project that was finished 5 years ago they will appreciate the descriptions what this calculation was all about. Document! Document! Document!

For each of the calculations, SoundPLAN will write entries into a logbook. When you have multiple calculations in a batch run, check afterwards if they all finished or if there were problems such as missing sound power in a industrial noise Geo-Files etc. The Logbook will contain the Object ID of a questionable object so that you can find it back in the Geo-Database.

To get more horse power for the calculations there is Distributed Computing: see DC  More information about the Calculations can be found in the chapters about road/rail/industry...

Copyright 2014 SoundPLAN international LLC, Shelton, WA 98584, USA