SoundPLAN Info #8                      November 2013

Dear SoundPLAN users and future users,

It's time for another information newsletter to help you become more proficient with SoundPLAN, create better investigation models, and get results more quickly. This newsletter's focus is

New SoundPLAN 7.3

                 New SoundPLAN-Essential 3.0

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If you are not sure how to use a feature described in this info, please contact your country support hotline for assistance. The links are located to the right.

The SoundPLAN team of SoundPLAN International LLC

Previous issues of SoundPLAN Info:

Info #1 in PDF format

Info #2 in PDF format

Info #3 in PDF format

Info #4 in PDF format

Info #5 in PDF format

Info #6 in PDF format

Info #7 in PDF format


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The Evolution continues! SoundPLAN 7.3 is now available as a native 64 bit version or a 32 bit version. There is no surcharge for the 64 bit version. The 64 bit version of SoundPLAN 7.3 requires a PC with a CPU that is capable for 64 bit programs and Windows 7 (64) or Windows 8 (64). To make full use of the software, this version also requires more memory in the PC than the 32 bit version.

With the 64 bit version there is no size restriction. Depending on the standard, this version also calculates a bit faster than the 32 bit version. 32 bit and 64 bit versions can be installed parallel to one another on the same PC .

SoundPLAN-Essential is also available in a new version, SoundPLAN-Essential 3.0. Both SoundPLAN 7.3 (32bit) and SoundPLAN-Essential 3.0 can be downloaded at:

A DVD  with the 32 and 64 bit version of SoundPLAN 7.3 and SoundPLAN essential 3.0 will be sent free of charge to all SoundPLAN users with current licenses free of charge.

SP 7.3

native 64 or 32 bit

no extra cost!

SoundPLAN is the only noise simulation software without any artificial size restriction. Even SoundPLAN-Essential does not restrict the model size. SoundPLAN-Essential is a single document application and a 32 bit program. It can handle up to 2 gigabyte of data, plenty for all but the very biggest noise studies. SoundPLAN 7.3/32 can partition big models so the size limit is not as pressing, but with 7.3/64 there is no size limit at all!

SoundPLAN 7.3 - 32 bit or 64 bit

As computer science development continues, new processors and operating systems give us the opportunity to give SoundPLAN new capabilities. A lot of users run SoundPLAN on 64 bit PCs under Win7 or Win8 as a 32 bit system. With SoundPLAN 7.3, you can use as much memory as your PC holds. In particular, the generation of country-wide digital terrain models for mountainous areas is now feasible without tiling the triangulation.

For both the 32 bit and the 64 bit version, the project data are identical. If you do not create single Geo-Files or Situations exceeding 2 gigabytes, you can open the project either from the 32 bit or the 64 bit version. The 32 bit version is still very useful in certain situations. Software such as Google Earth is not available as 64 bit programs and as it is not possible to call a 32 bit program from the 64 bit environment, the Google Earth interface for now is only available in the 32 bit version. When Google Earth releases a 64 bit version, this will change.

Problems with the 64 bit version: The 64 bit drivers for the hardlocks no longer support the parallel hardlock. To run the 64 bit version of SoundPLAN, these copy protection key must be replaced with a HASP key. If you still use one of the parallel copy protection keys, talk to your SoundPLAN distributor.

Download SoundPLAN 7.3

Download SoundPLAN-Essential 3.0


What's new in 7.3?


As with every new version of SoundPLAN, there is a main theme and lots of small changes and improvements. The main theme of SoundPLAN 7.3 is that the software is now available in 32/64 bit, but there are a lot of small improvements that benefit everyone. Following is a short list of changes with keywords only. If you want to see what is changing, you can download the update letter explaining all details.

Re-definition for reflective properties for walls

Reflection loss, absorption coefficient and reflection coefficient are just different ways of noting the same physical properties. With the re-worked window for these parameters, you enter the information you have and the program will calculate the other parameters.

Create a buffer around point, line and area objects

A new buffer command makes it easy to find a sensible buffer around the data. Creating buffers of 2 km around a calculation area helps to define the total model size. This buffer can then be used to filter import data to only import data needed in the project.

All instances of the library now work in the same window

Having up to 3 windows open for the same type of library was sometimes a bit an overload, so now all libraries open in a single window.




New pre-view of the Documentation

The Documentation received a new symbol bar to preview and search the results of SoundPLAN calculations. Searching for a specific receiver in a long list is now quite easy!




Additional possibilities in the Facade Noise Map

The 3D presentation of the Facade Noise Map received additional values that can be presented.


Additional display for the contour line labeling

See for yourself to the left!


Extra intervals for cross-sectional noise map

In the past, the cross-sectional noise map could only display the areas of equal noise levels with the number of steps as it was defined in the scale. Now intermediate steps allow a much finer display, just the same as in the normal Grid Noise Map.

If you want to read more about the changes in version 7.3, click here SP 7.3 Update news

New Module: Radar Tracks

With aircraft noise (in accordance to ECAC Doc 29/3 or AzB) it was necessary to define the flight track and the elevation profile for each class of aircraft. With the new radar track import facility it is possible to import radar tracks of measured flights and use the tracks for the calculations. When drawing the noise map of existing airports, this is a tremendous time saver, and as it deals directly with the approach and departure information, it is more accurate than the theoretical flight paths.

The radar tracks contain the information of position, altitude, speed and a reference to the aircraft type, so it is possible to process even the biggest airport in a short time.

What´s new in SPessential 3.0

SoundPLAN-Essential 3.0


As SoundPLAN-Essential is a much simpler program than the full version, support is not in such a demand and the update intervals are a bit longer. With the full version, we offer software maintenance contracts, but with SoundPLAN-Essential you can update the software within the version as long as you have the program. We periodically upload a new version onto the web with improvements and fixes.

To upgrade to the new version, ask your SoundPLAN distributor for a quotation. Programs purchased after July 21st will receive a complimentary upgrade.

Source library

The biggest change from SoundPLAN-Essential 2.1 to 3.0 is the handling of industrial sources. Sources now have a library with reference spectra. We supply a system library which you can amend with your own data in the form of a project library.

The handling of sources in relationship with industrial buildings also has some changes. It is now possible to connect sources directly to the building and define how far from the building the sources should be set. The      K_omega Walls is set to 3 dB and the first order of reflection on the building is suppressed. Entire facades can be defined directly.

If you want to read more about the changes in SoundPLAN-Essential, click here SPE3.0_Update_news

Adams Engineering Projects Pvt. Ltd.

is now representing SoundPLAN in India. The company is headquartered in Chennai with additional offices in several other cities.

Learn more at:

E-mail them:

New distributor in India
Adams Engineering Projects Pvt. Ltd 
H. Venkata Ganesh 
27, Lakshmanan Street, Mahalingpuram
Chennai - 600 034  
Tel: +61 44 28173711
Takabama Ltd.

is our new SoundPLAN distributor in Honk Kong and Macau. The main office is based in Hong Kong.

E-mail them:

New distributor in Hong Kong and Macau
Takabama Ltd.
Andy Chumg 
2401C. 19 Des Voeux Rd Central
Hong Kong
Tel: +852 2868 0990
From the hotline

Meteorological conditions - What? How? Where?

In SoundPLAN, every standard has a standards definition control that allows the user to customize certain parameters and functions for that standard. The controls to access this customization are accessible next to the standard selection in the SP manager and in the definition of the standard in the Calculations.

We are often asked what meteorological conditions can be simulated. In general, there are only a few standards that even consider the meteorological conditions at all. Many standards can be set to explicitly calculate the effect of the air-absorption, but for wind and atmospheric stability, few standards provide explicit formulae. There are 3 schools of thought; one wants to simulate the worst condition, another wants the annual average and the third desires answers for a specific situation.

Road and railway noise simulations ignore the meteorological effects except where the standards they are derived from explicitly calculate the conditions. The NMPB is derived from the ISO 9613 and thus the meteorology from this standard is included . In the discussion of meteorological effects, we can concentrate on the industrial noise models and can state that only ISO 9613, Nord 2000 and CONCAWE have a usable approach to meteorology.

CONCAWE has the desire to model the instant conditions for wind and stability. However, the formulae come at a price - the modeling is not fully consistent, there are jumps in the assessment of the wind and stability related formulae and the standard does not model screening or the cross-connection between screening and ground effect.

ISO 9613 models the annual average conditions (see the article below), but cannot cope with the instant conditions.

Nord 2000 concentrates on the instant answer to meteorological conditions (wind, stability), and can also cope with a wind statistics and thus model the annual average conditions.

For all cases, modeling the wave propagating through the atmosphere is empirical, and the effects of turbulence, layering and wind can explicitly be calculated only in much more complicated Parabolic Equation type programs that are not suitable for general noise modeling.

Cmet for the ISO 9613 and derived standards

The ISO 9613 calculates the sound propagation for outdoor noise sources for downwind situations. This is a calculation that is always on the safe side. If you need more realistic conditions, you can adjust your calculations to the average annual meteorological conditions. The correction is the Cmet and for the proper understanding, all components should be defined. However, the parameter C0 is not defined in the standard itself, so there are multiple attempts by different EPAs to fill this void. To the right you will find more details for Cmet and C0.

The result is the so called LAT(DW). In order to obtain a long term value LAT(LT) a meteorological correction Cmet must be applied.

LAT (LT) =LAT (DW) - Cmet

Cmet is calculated according to clause 8 of the ISO 9613.

Cmet = 0                                      if dp 10(hs + hr)

Cmet = C0[1-10(hs + hr) / dp]      if   dp > 10(hs + hr)


Hs source height (m)
hr receiver height (m)
dp distance (m) between the source and receiver projected to the horizontal ground plane

factor (in dB) which depends on local meteorological statistics for wind speed and direction and temperature gradients

For practical use, the C0 may be estimated from elementary analysis of the local meteorological statistics or local authorities may establish methods to evaluate C0.

One example how the C0 is defined is the method described by the Bavarian EPA:


annual mean percentage of meteorological conditions for downwind and calm

Km deviation of sound level according to downwind conditions in dB (a value of 0 dB is proposed to use)
Tq annual mean percentage of crosswind conditions

deviation of sound level with crosswind relative to downwind conditions in dB (a value of 1,5 dB is proposed to use)

Tg annual mean percentage of upwind conditions

deviation of sound level with headwind relative to downwind conditions in dB (a value of 10 dB is proposed to use)

Tm, Tq and Tg are defined by the annual frequency distribution of the wind direction, which is stated in 13 classes. 12 classes correspond to 30 degree angel sectors and one class is for calm.

The three groups for the wind directions are defined as:

Downwind:  ±45° in direction towards to the receiver (=90° sector) and calm
Crosswind: 45° to 135° and 225° to 315° in direction of the propagation
Upwind: ±45° opposite to the direction of propagation

The second method is very similar. The only difference is the fixed values for km, kq and kg are replaced by a function DL( ) , depending on the angle.

DL( ) = 5 - 5* cos( - 45* sin( ))


= 0 deg corresponds to downwind
= 90 deg corresponds to crosswind
= 180 deg corresponds to upwind

Co is calculated over the 11 sectors (each 30 degrees) of the wind statistic.


Ti = annual part in % of meteorological conditions for the sector i.

Calculations with floating screens

Like all technical things, whenever a development is finished, there are boundaries where the model applies and where it does not. This line is always shifting to include more and more complicated situations. The screen capture to the left is from the Geo-Database and shows 3 buildings. The lower and the middle buildings are connected to each other. A floating screen is situated between the middle building and the left building. Another floating screen is in the area outside the three buildings. The big source to be modeled is underneath the floating screen.

The question with modeling is how to find the proper path between source and receiver. The yellow dot represents the source (it is actually under the floating screen), and the pink dot is a receiver. Path A would pass over the building, but as the building is tall, the maximum of 25 dB loss for the screening would apply. If the high middle building would be the only obstacle, the side screening around the building would greatly reduce the screening. As SoundPLAN looks at structures that are connected with each other, the calculations would find the "hull" around all structures (E and D) but also would find the paths B and C, which are considerably shorter than around all structures.

Finding the path between both high buildings under the floating screens is now possible in SoundPLAN, but the price of finding all possible paths and selecting the shortest one takes calculation time! Since we allow composite structures to be built from multiple floating objects, the calculation time increases a lot when those structures are found in the data.

Noise emitted from road and railway tunnels

The noise field inside a road or railway tunnel is reverberant, so the noise coming out of the tunnel mouth can not be treated as the normal line source in the regular position as it is defined for normal roads or railways. The entire tunnel mouth must be treated as a source!

In SoundPLAN, the tunnel portal is considered an object, and when placed over a road or railway object, it will suppress the emissions from the segment inside the tunnel. It rather calculates the emissions of the segment inside the tunnel and simulates the breakout by placing four point sources in the tunnel mouth. The sound power of these point sources is adjusted to reflect the sound energy leaving the tunnel.

The top picture to the left shows where the tunnel will increase the noise levels. It is clear that tunnels only influence noise in a local area around the tunnel mouth, but as the sources are elevated, the effectiveness of noise barriers at the tunnel mouth is not as high as on the free area away from the tunnel. The reason for this is twofold. First, the source is not on the ground, which reduces the extra path length for the screening. Second, the frequency mixture the tunnel emits is weighted towards the low frequency spectrum, further reducing the screening. Because of the frequency shift, the noise emitted from the tunnel is calculated with the ISO 9613.

If you want to know more about the tunnel noise calculation click here: tunnel.ppt

New Emissions for CoRTN

Ground Factor and CoRTN

The Emission definitions for CoRTN have been rewritten in part because New South Wales, Australia, decided to deviate from the standard. SoundPLAN 7.3 provides the option to calculate in accordance to the UK standard or the New South Wales adaptation.

As part of the change in the way the calculations are carried out, there is now a change in the standard to select how to convert L10 to the Leq.

The main emissions calculation box in the GeoDB has been completely re-worked with the possibilities to disable the speed correction in accordance to Chart 5 and to see or calculate the effect of multiple reflections in street canyons.



Calculation of Road Traffic Noise and other standards use a ground hardness factor G between 0 and 1. In the calculation, the ground factor is averaged over the distances traveled for these factors. In CoRTN, the average Ground factor is bracketed to fall into 5 classes.

If the entire calculation area is blanketed with a fixed ground absorption factor, for example, 0.6, the ground factor used in the calculation is the requested 0.6 only when the calculation setting "Create ground effect areas from road surfaces" is off, otherwise the hard surface of the road will modify the ground absorption factor. If this setting is on, the hard road surface will make the factor drop below the boundary of the I factor setting of 0.75.

When simulating different areas with hard and soft ground, this feature is a great help to implicitly set the road surface as hard surface.

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