Example: SFO's Noise Impact

This (trivial) example looks at airport noise affecting my home in Northern California.

High-level View

The San Francisco Bay Area has several airports, but only three of these (the international airports) have lots of jet aircraft flying in and out:

Harvesting the information (and links) above helped me to form an ontological view. The diagram below summarizes this view, in terms of some relevant pages:

Drilling Down

Although SFO is owned by San Francisco, it is located in San Bruno, a few miles from my house. OAK is easily visible, but it's across the SF Bay. SJO is dozens of miles away, down the SF Peninsula. In short, SFO is the only airport whose noise concerns me.

Better yet, my house doesn't sit below most of SFO's low-altitude flight paths (i.e., airways). So, aside from occasional rumblings of jets warming up, I hear very little airport noise when I'm at home. However, I generally expect to hear departing aircraft (and concomitant car alarms) when I'm in downtown San Bruno or South SF.

Several cities are located near SFO, but only a few unlucky areas get much airport noise. South SF is almost entirely on the takeoff path, as is the northeast portion of San Bruno. So, these folks hear (and feel) most of SFO's takeoffs. Daly City, Pacifica, and the remainder of San Bruno get very little noise.

The northeast portion of Millbrae is near the landing path, but the planes travel up the bay to SFO. Also, landings tend to be quieter than takeoffs. Here's another diagram, hinting at some of this information:

Looking Up

There are many other things that the diagrams above could have shown. For example, they could say more about San Bruno's global context. Here is a (very abridged) view showing "neighbors" at several geographic levels:

Relevant Pages

As an inquiry proceeds, the set of relevant pages can grow very quickly. In this trivial example, we've touched on more than two dozen pages:

Indeed, the number of potentially relevant pages (i.e., related in some manner) includes most of Wikipedia. Keeping this information explosion under control, while retaining relevant (let alone useful) context, is one of the hardest problems Ontiki faces.


This wiki page is maintained by Rich Morin, an independent consultant specializing in software design, development, and documentation. Please feel free to email comments, inquiries, suggestions, etc!

Topic revision: r4 - 04 Dec 2014, RichMorin
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