Community update May 2018: Maps

Dear Freesounders,

Here we are back with some more news about things happening in the Freesound dev world! We have just released a couple of new features and have been working on a big third new feature but that won’t finally make it until next month. These are the? newly introduced features:

  • New maps: we’ve just got brand new fresh maps! We switched to a new maps provider called Mapbox (which uses some imagery data from OpenStreetMap) and have taken the opportunity to add some improvements to the way maps work in Freesound. If you go to the sounds map page you’ll notice that, besides the new icons for sounds and clusters, the maps now show terrain labels to easily locate places, and there is a search bar that you can use to enter locations and fly to these in the map. That’s a huge usability improvement as in old maps you had to manually navigate to whatever place in the world you wanted to hear sounds from 🙂 This search bar has also been added to the small map that you use to add geotags when describing your sounds.Together with these improvements we also improved map share links and map embeds. To share map with a link, you can now simply copy the link from the address bar while you’re browsing in the map page. Map embeds now have extra options that allow you to choose the size of the embed and to decide whether you want sounds to be clustered (or not). This is particularly useful for projects that use Freesound map embeds like Sons de Barcelona.

Sounds of Amsterdam

Sounds of New Zealand

  • Simpler registration page: believe it or not, we spend a lot of time answering support requests from users that have trouble registering. We detected that our login form was a bit problematic sometimes gave rather confusing messages about the status of the registration process. That’s why we decided to fix it and we have now a brand new and much simpler form that hopefully will reduce the number of support requests we get from registration. Ah, and we also took the opportunity to get rid of the first name and last name fields which we actually never used and don’t store anymore 🙂

As usual, we have also been working and released a number of fixes and improvements:

  • Fixes in moderation pages
  • Improve cache invalidation for sound pages: to save some efforts to our servers we use caching. This means that there are portions of the HTML we render that are not computed every time you request them but that are already cached and reused for everyone. It can happen that sometimes the cached pages go out of sync with the real data in Freesound. We have improved the mechanisms to invalidate cache so that these will be better in sync with Freesound.
  • Fix a bug in sound comment email notifications which in some situations was ignoring user email preferences.
  • Improved sync between our stored counts of downloads per user and the actual real numbers.

That’s it for now, enjoy Freesound!


The Freesound Team

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3 Responses to Community update May 2018: Maps

  1. hackerb9 says:

    Nice! I’m hoping for tighter integration with Right now it’s not obvious how to search for a specific location.

    The simplest for users would be a single search box: If I type “Barcelona” in the search box, one would expect to see the normal results plus a little map on the side if there were any hits using MapBox. (Just like typing an address into Google).

    I understand that that might be a little tricky because you’d be adding the mapbox API as a parallel search, but I have confidence it’s doable.


    P.S. please change the link on that says “Browse Geotags” to instead say, “Search by Location” or “Map Search”, either of which would be more understandable.

  2. hackerb9 says:

    Another point about integration: there’s no way to search for a specific sound in a location.

    For example, if I wanted to find the sound of ambulances in various cities, I can’t use the map search as it’ll tell me, for example, that there are over 2000 sounds in Barcelona, but not if any of them are ambulances.

    If I search, it will find ambulances but I can’t additionally search for cities by geotag. (Yes, I can type the word “Barcelona”, but that does a textual search, not geotag.)

  3. frederic.font says:

    Hi hackerb9,

    Thanks for your comments, these are all very relevant.
    We’ll change the “name” of the map in a near future once we update the interface (it’s already planned to simply call it “map”).

    You’re right there are many possibilities for further integrating the map and the search. There is one trick which allows you to filter sounds in the map by tags. That would give you similar results to what you’re proposing. This trick is not documented as it has not been turned in to a full feature so far. Just use the following URL: (replace YOUR_TAG by a tag you want to filter sounds with). This will show you a map with all sounds that have geolocation and that have been tagged with . Then you can navigate in different cities. Unfortunately, I just found out that there are not so many ambulance sounds with geotags! :S

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