Using sensors and other smart devices, Argyle Square in Carlton has been transformed into a 'smart park': a space that can express its environment and how it’s used through data and technology.

These insights will help the City of Melbourne to develop insights about the park (for a specific period of time or in realtime) to help identify opportunities for parks to be more supportive, inclusive and comfortable spaces for all park users.

Sensor map

Launched in May 2022, our foldout map invites you to explore how we’re using sensors here. It shares information about our sensor types, how you can see the data, sensor locations and – most importantly – why we’re collecting data here. Download it and print it out so that you can use the map to spot the sensors. You can also pick one up at Micro-Labs pop-up library at 227-229 Bourke Street, Melbourne.

Download the map

Download and print the map to explore how and why we’re using sensors in Argyle Square.

News

Timeline

  • Timeline item 1 - complete

    Devices installed in Argyle Square

    2020

  • Timeline item 2 - complete

    Digital twin app live

    26 April 2020

  • Timeline item 3 - complete

    Community engagement activities with Monash Emerging Technology Research Lab

    April and May 2021

  • Timeline item 4 - complete

    Public park tours for MKW21

    26 April to 2 May 2021

  • Timeline item 5 - complete

    Sensor map published and available at Micro-Labs

    May 2022

  • Timeline item 6 - complete

    New bin sensors installed in Argyle Square 

    August 2022

  • Timeline item 7 - active

    More public tours and consultation

If viewing on mobile, hold and swipe tabs left to view all.


The details

In late 2020, devices including micro-climate sensors, motion sensors and pedestrian counters were installed to feed data into a digital twin: a virtual representation of the park. Through the digital twin, community and industry alike can get up close to data to meet the devices that collect this information, including understanding exactly what information is collected, how the data is used and most importantly, why the data is valuable.

Pilot activities so far have included:

  • installation and maintenance of devices in Argyle Square
  • establishment of a dashboard to access and understand the data
  • community engagement workshops to discuss the project and understand concerns around data collections
  • public tours in April and May 2021 as part of Melbourne Knowledge Week.

The pilot allows data to provide an insight into questions such as:

  • Where do people spend the most time in the park?
  • How do people respond to temperature, humidity and other climatic characteristics in specific areas of the square?
  • Which animals spend the most time in the park and when?
  • What trees are most popular to sit by?
  • What are the waste patterns in the park?
  • How has park usage changed during COVID lockdowns?

The data insights can support park planners and designers as well as park maintenance crews. That data also empowers the community to have more involvement in shaping our shared community spaces.

More community engagement is planned to discuss how data collection activities such as these can be more effectively and meaningfully conveyed to residents and visitors to Argyle Square.

The project findings are being shared with a range of stakeholders to understand how it can be valuable for future park design and operation.

Discover real-time data being collected in Argyle Square on our online dashboard.

Visit Argyle Square and download the digital twin app to learn more about the devices and the insights they’re enabling, firsthand.

Click the Follow button above to get updates and hear about community engagement opportunities.

The technology

More on the technology

  • Atmos 41 weather station sensors
  • Netvox temperature and humidity sensors (trees)
  • ARCS EMS air quality sensors
  • Netvox R718X bin sensors
  • Elsys ERS movement sensors (stage)
  • Skyfii mobile phone counting pedestrian sensors
  • Guppy motion sensors (benches)
  • Temperature data
  • Humidity data
  • Atmospheric pressure
  • Solar exposure
  • Wind speed and direction
  • Gust speed
  • Nitrogen dioxide levels
  • Carbon monoxide levels
  • PMA, PM2.5, PM 10 levels
  • Ozone
  • Movement on the stage
  • People movement through the park
  • Bench usage
  • Rubbish bin fill levels
  • Bin collection times

Atmos weather station sensors collect micro-climate data to compare to Bureau of Meteorology data and understand how Argyle Square's weather conditions are different to the rest of Melbourne, which is useful for historical trend analysis. The microclimate generated by an urban space such as Argyle Square can increase the frequency of fog, the intensity of storms, the concentration of polluted air, and how long that bad air remains in the city. This data may be used as an input into future climate change mitigation strategies like urban heat island effect.


Netvox temperature and humidity sensors are installed in 4 locations across the park, with three out of the four locations measuring the microclimates created by different tree species including elm and gum. This data will help us develop historical trend analysis, to understand the different microclimates of the park and how much cooling and heating effects are at each location. This data may inform future tree planting decision making as we work to mitigate the effects of climate change.


Air quality data collected via our EMS air quality sensors shares insights into prevalence of polluted air, its concentration, and how long that bad air remains in a location enabling historical trend analysis. We might use this data to understand how tree coverage impacts air quality.


We collect Netvox R718X bin sensor data to understand how bins are used in Argyle Square. While we're not sure what the data will show us, our theory is that the data can help us better understand how our community use bins. We may use this data to support service teams who maintain the park and inform the design of future parks.


There are three ERS stage movement sensors installed on the roof of the stage. They capture times of stage usage as well as duration to help us to understand how the community uses this amenity. This data is useful when combined with other people movement and asset usage data for understanding how people use Argyle Square over time. This data may help inform future events and planning decision making as we work to create great park experiences for Melbourne.


We collect data using the Skyfii mobile phone counting sensor to understand pedestrian activity in Argyle Square, including things like peak park visitation, patterns in pedestrian activity and more. This data will help inform future park design and plan maintenance that is least disruptive to park occupants.


Our Guppy motion sensors are installed on two types of benches – wooden and metal. This data has the potential to tell us which benches are used more and when. For instance, the data collected so far tells us the most popular bench time during the week is 1pm, and that Wednesday, Thursday and Friday sees the most bench traffic during the week. This data can help inform the design of urban infrastructure and overall design of our parks and open spaces.

Most sensors use the LoRaWAN Things Network to send data approximately every 15 minutes. The pedestrian sensor is the only sensor that does not use LoRaWAN. It sends data via a 4G SIM card.

The sensors are sent to several locations (all located in Australia) including The Things Network (TTN) platform, Smart City Solutions platform and City of Melbourne's data lake in AWS Australia.

  • The data is used both by City of Melbourne's Argyle Square Pilot platform – built by Peclet Technology with their Opendatasoft software. This platform's data is located in AWS Australia.
  • The data is also used by City of Melbourne's Argyle Square Pilot digital twin – built by Phoria. This platform's data is located in Melbourne.

This data is stored permanently for any possible future analysis.

Emerging Technology Testbed