Port Otago joined forces with Microsoft to develop an accurate automated noise monitoring and classification programme.
Until recently, recordings from the port's four noise monitors were reviewed and classified manually, but the IT team suggested teaching a computer to do the job.
Microsoft was on board from the outset, while the port IT team passed on a year's worth of noise data to help the software "learn" the difference between port activity and say, a passing train or barking dog.
The automated system started in May and is 95% accurate. Occasionally re-training of the software is required to make sure it stays accurate. It is also an opportunity to classify any new types of noise that emerge.
Port Otago will work with acoustic engineers Marshall Day to maximise the software's potential across the operation. The next step is to extend its ability, so it also recognises frequency and can pick up "third octave" data. This would include the problematic Rio Class Ships.