Sonitus Systems: Team Picks

David McDonald


In honour of Clean Air Day (, we are delighted to introduce David McDonald, Sonitus Systems’ web developer extraordinaire and lead developer of Dublin City Council’s air and noise reporting platform for the public: 

Meet David

After graduating from NUI Maynooth with a B.A. in Media Studies and English, David spent several years living and working in different countries. He spent two years teaching English at Junior High and Elementary schools in Japan, before moving to Ukraine for six months to teach in a private language school. David later relocated to Canada where he had a number of part-time jobs, including working in a bookshop and a cinema.

Upon returning to Ireland, he undertook a Higher Diploma in Web Development at Griffith College in Dublin. According to David: 

“I didn’t study Computer Science in university and never expected to end up working in this area!”

Career to date

As part of his Higher Diploma in Web Development, David worked with a fitness technology startup before moving to Manchester. While living there and freelancing as a website developer, he undertook a Masters in Environmental Practice at Manchester Metropolitan University in the evenings and at weekends.

This work and study led to David being brought onboard the Sonitus Systems team to develop a website to share noise data for Dublin with the general public. This website was a forerunner for what has now become  Now based in Germany, David recently redeveloped Sonitus Systems’ website and the company’s web-based platform for providing customers with access to their environmental monitoring data, which has now become Sonitus Cloud

“That was 8 years ago and there has been no let up in the work ever since!”

Favourite resources

Like many software developers, David spends a good deal of time looking at documentation, tutorials and forums. 

  1. StackOverflow is the best friend of anyone who writes code or is responsible for systems administration: 
  2. YouTube has become an invaluable source for video tutorials and walkthroughs: 
  3. The Guardian is his go-to source for news about the environment and the climate crisis. According to David, they were devoting coverage to these issues for many years before it became ubiquitous in the mainstream media: 
  4. Podcasts:

“A couple of years ago I got into the habit of listening to podcasts on my way to work. No Denying It produced by the United Nations and Mothers of Invention hosted by Mary Robinson and Maeve Higgins are two podcasts that celebrate inspiring figures working in the area of climate action and the environment. Sustainababble takes a light-hearted look at environmental topics and tries to cut through some of the doublespeak and greenwashing that abound in the area.”

David observes that with so much doom and gloom in the news, it is important to focus on solutions and to retain a sense of humour in order to stay positive (and sane) – and we could not agree more.

Other interests

When David is not working or listening to podcasts, he enjoys cycling, walking and “pottering about in the garden”.

Since 2020, he is a proud parent to two young Hermann’s tortoises who, according to David, “have taught me to identify and appreciate a number of plants that others might dismiss as ‘weeds’ and also the secret to a long and healthy life – they sleep almost half the year!”.

During his time in Manchester, David volunteered with the local Friends of the Earth group, contributing to their Air Quality and Sustainable Transport campaign. He also joined the RSPB and developed an interest in birds.

David enjoys studying languages and since moving to Germany two years ago, he has been wrestling with the finer points of German grammar and “desperately” trying to reach conversational level.

Expectations for the future of environmental monitoring

When asked about his expectations for the future of environmental monitoring, David points out that monitoring and modeling are two sides of the same coin when it comes to environmental management:

“In the past, computer modeling was only available to universities and local governments, however, the software and tools are becoming more accessible than ever before. Improvements in artificial intelligence and data analysis will allow us to move beyond the measurements that have been captured to derive intelligence and actionable insights from that data. This will ideally have a positive impact for people and the environment.”

Sonitus Systems offers both the hardware and software for a range of environmental parameters on a continual basis, with real-time information available through our Sonitus Cloud dashboard. For more details on our indoor and outdoor noise and air quality monitoring products and services, please contact the team at Sonitus Systems.