Located on the northern bank of the Yarra River, Birrarung Marr, a place of spiritual and cultural importance to traditional owners, features a range of native flora and sculpted terraces and is a popular site for exercising, leisure and commuting through.

Currently, sensors are used in open spaces like Royal Park, Argyle Square and Southbank Promenade to better understand user behaviour and inform how our parks are designed and managed. In Birrarung Marr, we’ll continue to trial how we use emerging technology to drive great city experiences.

A variety of sensors will collect information in the park to help us understand behaviour over time, share data insights with the community and inform future planning of open spaces. Insights from data collected will be shared with the community.

Learn more below and hit ‘Follow’ to stay up to date on the project.

Sensors in the park

Our sensors are installed in specific locations to gather useful data. We’ll be sharing the data collected soon.



  • Timeline item 1 - complete

    Review of other park data and development of sensor plan


  • Timeline item 2 - complete

    Installation of first pedestrian counting sensor using bluetooth technology

    December 2021

  • Timeline item 3 - active

    Data collection

    Ongoing from 2022

  • Timeline item 4 - complete

    Installation of second sensor using LiDAR technology to understand pedestrian activity

    September 2022

  • Timeline item 5 - complete

    20 bench sensors installed in the park

    15 February 2023

  • Timeline item 6 - complete

    Installation of weather station

    March 2023

  • Timeline item 7 - complete

    Installation of third pedestrian counter

    June 2023

  • Timeline item 8 - complete

    Installation of sensors at the playground near ArtPlay

    June 2023

  • Timeline item 9 - complete

    One AIRS sensor added to the Park

    18 July 2023

  • Timeline item 10 - complete

    Bench sensors have been removed

    8 February 2024

  • Timeline item 11 - active

    Analysis and review

    Ongoing from August 2023

The details

Sensors are a useful tool to help us understand our parks and other open spaces. For instance, they can tell us how usage changes over time, opportunities for improvement, the impact of developments and, importantly, help us to have conversations with the community.

Argyle Square in Carlton was the first Melbourne open space to be ‘sensed’. We’ve been collecting and storing data from Argyle Square since 2020. Royal Park was our second 'Data in the park' project, enabling us to trial new types of sensors and develop insights about park usage.

We have started implementing sensors in Birrarung Marr. Some of the sensors we’re using have been tested in other parts of the city such as the Bluetooth sensors that are part of our Pedestrian Counting System and micro-climate sensors in parks including Argyle Square and Royal Park. We’ll also be trialing new sensors in order to capture useful data.

Data collected will help provide insights into areas such as:

  • the busiest times and days
  • the key modes of transport and how their usage patterns differ
  • the micro-climates here and how user behaviour changes in different conditions
  • the seasonal trends for usage
  • the most used equipment in the playground
  • the least popular playground equipment
  • the usage of seating near the playground and around the park
  • the most popular places in the park and the duration people spend in the area.

We’re currently exploring how different sensor types could provide useful data. We’ll continue to update this page as we implement new sensors and share any useful data via a dashboard.

We will share insights with the community when we have collected quality data. We will work with planners and park managers to review the data and plan future designs and improvements.

Click ‘Follow’ to get notified about project updates. You can also reach out to us with any comments or questions at smart.cities@melbourne.vic.gov.au.

The technology

  • The Skyfii mobile phone counting pedestrian sensor counts the number of devices that emit a Bluetooth signal. We de-identify each Bluetooth signal and randomise it so it is not personally traceable.
  • The Ouster sensor uses Li-DAR technology. Li-DAR stands for Light Detection and Ranging and uses a laser to emit light. It measures the time for the light to reflect off an object and return to the sensor. Li-DAR is useful technology to get an accurate understanding of activity in specific areas.
  • The Micro-climate sensor captures a range of data including temperature, humidity, particulate matter in the air and more.
  • Yabby sensors in the playground will count playground equipment usage as well as picnic table usage. Data collected will help us understand how people use the playground, including which items are used more than others, which equipment needs maintenance most frequently and peak times of use.
  • The Skyfii Bluetooth sensor sends data across telecommunications networks via a SIM card.
  • The Ouster Li-DAR sensor also sends data via a SIM card.
  • The Micro-climate sensor sends data via LoRaWAN, Low Range Wide Area Network. This network is used for devices that only need to send small amounts of data.
  • The Yabby Edge sensors use a low power wide area network (LoRaWAN) to send the data. The data is sent to the City of Melbourne’s data lake.

The data is used by City of Melbourne to design, plan and maintain Birrarung Marr and other green spaces in the city. The data will be shared with the community via a dashboard on this page soon. Stay tuned.

This data is stored permanently for records and analysis. We are not collecting any data that could personally identify anyone.

Sensors in the playground

Our sensors are installed in specific locations to gather useful data. Stay tuned, we’ll be sharing the data collected soon.

Emerging Technology Testbed