Orcasound app

An ocean of sound is in your pocket! (Just select the “Listen live” button above…)

The main goal of the Orcasound web app, launched in November, 2018, is to make it easy to listen without limits to live hydrophones in your favorite browser on your favorite device. In 2019, we started testing new features to let you be a citizen scientist and activist: report when you hear something, and get notified about listening opportunities and conservation actions. The more-interactive Orcasound 2.0 was launched in May, 2020. Version 3.0 fledged in late 2021 and continues to improve, feature by innovative feature.

Here are recent posts about our progress that you can read while you listen for whales!

Recent Posts

Thank you to 224 backers who raised $20k via the 2017 Orcasound Kickstarter! We’re particular grateful to all the backers on our List of Founders .

If you missed it, you may always make a tax-deductible or alternative contribution via our donate page.

The wildlife of the Salish Sea is at risk and you can help

Hydrophones give you the power to know what’s happening under and above our waters. Listening to orcas, quieting noisy boats or sonar, and vigilantly monitoring the soundscape: for distressed animals, vocalizing humpback whales, soniferous fish, and more. With Orcasound, we have an acoustic window into an ecosystem that’s unreachable by most.

Donate $10 or more today to preserve the Salish Sea, our wildlife, and your access to exciting live and recorded ocean sounds

There is a bright future for you, whales, dolphins, researchers, students and other citizens – if you can help. Your contribution helps upgrade the aging hydrophone network so we can listen without interruptions – from your phone or computer, on a boat or on the bus. By listening to our live audio streams, you can also help us monitor the Salish Sea for threats and fascinating ecological events. Without the real-time data from Orcasound we’re deaf to what’s happening NOW in an entire ecosystem.

Without your donations, the Salish Sea will go without this vital technology

Thanks to you, we met our 2017 goal of raising $15,000 upgrade the Orcasound cyberinfrastructure.  By helping us get halfway to our stretch goal of $25,000, you have started the process of repairing and replacing our hydrophone/hardware.  Since our initial U.S. governmental funding dried up, citizen scientists and dedicated donors have kept the hydrophone network from shutting down.  Contribute today to ensure we have the resources to keep the hydrophones online, and even expand their listening range.

With your help, you can monitor the Salish sea for threats and listen to fascinating ecological events

From midnight orca serenades to dangerous military sonar – there is an ocean of sound waiting to be heard by you. When you become an Orcasound citizen scientist and listen for the whales, you help scientists learn when and where orcas migrate, how they communicate and forage, and what noises might be impeding the recovery of this endangered species.  Along the way, you’ll learn how to identify sonar and other noises, and have opportunities to act to reduce such ocean noise.  You might even be the first to hear or identify an ocean sound for the first time!  The mysterious habits, behaviors and patterns of sea life and Nature can be discovered with your help.

  1. Thanks to you — we can build a new tool to influence local decision making on vital environmental polices, like regulation of ship noise and local use of mid-frequency sonar.
  2. Thanks to you — we can all enjoy limitless access to listening for wildlife.
  3. Thanks to you — scientists, conservationists, students and citizen scientists will continue to study wildlife and collect data that they can get nowhere else.
  4. Thanks to you — we will be able to respond more effectively to emerging ecological disasters – like oil spills.

16 thoughts on “Orcasound app

    1. Tony Haslam says:

      Still no answers, but you should listen. Now that Sperm whales have been seen, it’s a must. Clicks are dephening and are more complex than any human language. I so want to merge with them. I just have to say wow.

  1. Momo says:

    HI and thank you…
    So curious…
    How is this going–is it helping? How can we listen? What are the results being used for?
    What is the situation with Navy sonar testing? Has that had an actual impact on the Orcas or other sea mammals in Salish Sea?

    1. Scott Veirs says:

      Hi, Momo. It’s going pretty well though it is *tricky* to get audio data from the ocean to the wide variety of browsers on the even wider range of devices being used these days. Now you can listen with iTunes, but soon you’ll be able to listen within your web browser. Stay tuned!

      Results are used for lots of science and conservation. We’re tracking how loud it is underwater. We’re listening for interesting sounds, which can lead to researchers or educators having a chance to respond rapidly (e.g. conduct other studies when a species of interest is detected, or interpret a live broadcast for visitors at an aquarium).

      Our listeners often report hearing dangerous sounds and we try to stop the noise at the source. One example is mid-frequency sonar and other Naval sounds. There’s strong evidence that sonar has caused mass strandings in other parts of the world. There’s less strong evidence that sonar testing and training has impacted Salish Sea marine mammals. Here’s a chronology of the events we’ve heard (and in some cases helped mitigate) — https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1_YFwuky35k1X-5YDu0Nn0hu10KhX88ZYA3JPoL_-mb4/edit?usp=sharing The good news is that Orcasound listeners are very good at detecting sonar now, and we know who to call in the U.S. and Canadian Navies to stop unauthorized testing or training.

      Happy listening,
      Scott (in Seattle)

    2. kathleen christenson says:

      Deafening is the correct spelling in the following sentence:
      Clicks are dephening and are more complex than any human language.

    1. Scott Veirs says:

      Hi Elysse — Keep an eye on orcasound.net/blog where we’ll announce when the web app is launched. Right now we are still in development and expect to beta-test with our Kickstarter backers later this month.

      1. Vanessa Atkins says:


        I donated during the initial fundraising and was wondering when we get to try the beta version, as well as any other updates upcoming! So excited for this to come online!!! =-)

        1. Scott Veirs says:

          Hi Vanessa,

          Thanks for both of your inquiries. We’re *so* close to a beta-launch but it’s going to be at least a few more weeks. This project is using some cool, cutting-edge technologies (by choice) and that’s resulted in unexpected delays trying to get all this tech working (but it’s going to be worth it, we think)…

          That said, you’re right it’s been a long time since the last Kickstarter update. We’ve resolved to provide them quarterly in 2018. Look forward to a big one next week about the hardware and software choices we’ve made thus far, along with news of the upcoming reward deliveries that are happening this spring.

  2. Vanessa Atkins says:

    I contributed to the Kickstarter when it first started and in the beginning I would get periodic emails, as well as read that as a kickstarter I could participate in the beta program and have not heard anything about either in some time. I am so anxious and excited for this to be up and running, did I miss an email or something?? =-)

  3. Anna Stenmark says:

    Hi, I’m just curious. Is this an app for phones and if so where do I get it?
    Thank you!

    1. Scott Veirs says:

      Hi Anna,

      The Orcasound app is a “web app” — an application that runs in your web browser. That browser could be on your phone (e.g. Chrome on an Android phone, or Safari on an iPhone), or it could be on your tablet, laptop, or desktop computer.

      To access the app, just browse to live.orcasound.net and let us know how it performs for you!

      Happy listening,

  4. Steph says:

    Hi, I was trying to figure out the URIs for the audio sources, i believe they’re m3u8 streams but I can’t tell if there’s a static URI or if the URI is always changing. Both for listening outside the web app (old school, I know) and I was hoping I could figure out a way to do stuff like pipe the Haro strait stream through some Python script to cut out the interference frequency for more pleasant listening… is there a static stream uri? Is there one in the road map? (I can see positives and negatives, no complaints if it’s not aligned with the project goals!)

    (I’m interested in contributing in the future but I don’t have any experience working with either streamed audio or OBS data in Python yet! I hoped to embarrass myself in private first… 😉 )

    1. Scott Veirs says:

      Hi Steph, great question. Yes, they are m3u8 streams but the URI changes every 6-24 hours, or when a Raspberry Pi loses power and has to reboot. This will likely change (get easier to do what you’re attempting) when we make a quantum leap in how we use ffmpeg to generate the lossy live stream and therefore how the player within the Orcasound web app works.

      I recommend you study the orcasite and oranode repositories in the Orcasound Github organization. You can start at the highest level here — https://github.com/orcasound — or help us flesh out the orcasite wiki here — https://github.com/orcasound/orcasite/wiki

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