Extreme heat causes more fatalities in Australia than all other natural hazards combined. It also has a cumulative and cascading impact on city systems.

Due to climate change, our city is experiencing more hot days than ever before. In Melbourne, we currently average 11 days at 35 degrees or more, and expect this to rise to 16 days by 2050.

City of Melbourne is committed to reducing the threat of extreme urban heat for all, particularly vulnerable people. Our goal is to provide places of respite for residents, workers and visitors during extreme heat events.

To help achieve this and build a heat safe city, we are working to better understand, support and respond to our city and community experiences during extreme heat events.

We’re trialling new technology and data platforms to explore how they might help us better plan and respond in a heat event and drive towards a more heat resilient city.

This summer we’re trialling HeatSens - a digital tool that combines data to help us understand more about our municipality and reveal opportunities to deliver appropriate and time-critical support in a heat event.

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

The details

We know data and technology is continually developing. New products provide opportunities for us to better understand and support our community.

We test new technologies on a small scale, for short periods in a collaborative and transparent way. This means we learn about the challenges and risks of using the technology or data in the future. We can also understand key benefits for our city and community on a longer term and on a bigger scale.

For urban spaces like Melbourne’s CBD, extreme heat days and heatwaves have significant economic and health impacts. People living in the city are at greater risk because of the urban heat island effect (3 to 8 degrees Celsius warmer than rural areas). During extreme heat events we can experience increases in heat-related illness, power outages, and disruption to transport services and outdoor events.

We’re putting a new climate-tech platform to the test this summer. This will equip us with important, localised insights to better plan and deliver critical support to the community during an extreme heat event.

HeatSens is a ‘smart’ digital tool developed by ClimaSens, a Melbourne startup, to collect data, monitor change and determine potential heat hazards to provide support in real time. HeatSens has a variety of features to help us understand heat risk on a local level across the municipality.

The key features include:

  • combining different data including environmental, social, historical and real time data
  • analysing the different data to determine heat risk at different locations
  • visualising data on a map for easy understanding of how heat risk varies in different areas
  • alerting us to upcoming heat events to activate localised proactive measures
  • measuring change over time, to drive heat mitigation strategies.

HeatSens will enable us to have a better understanding of what’s happening in the city, including where our most vulnerable locations are. Accessing data like this will help us better prepare for heat events and know how to best support the community.

For instance, when known in advance, we can extend the hours of our libraries and recreation centres in areas with higher heat risks. We can also share information and resources earlier to communities who are most likely to be impacted.

We will explore a variety of ways we can use the data to enable community resilience this summer.

We are trying to understand the impact of using a tool like this and whether it can enable us to provide better support to the community, now and in the future. We’ll be collecting data on how we use it to measure its usefulness.

We’re using HeatSens to support decision making this summer. Many teams take actions that prepare and respond to heat risk to support the community. These teams will access HeatSens data this summer. It will support how we work with the community through having more localised and detailed information.

We hope this will enable us to:

  • have more time to prepare for upcoming heat events
  • make decisions faster
  • support decisions with data
  • prioritise getting support to areas of the community who need it most
  • and be more resilient to heat this summer.

We are collecting data to help understand the impact of using this tool and determine its use long-term. We will share insights on how this tool has been used at the end of the summer trial period.

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.


  • Timeline item 1 - complete

    Phase 1: Initial testing period

    March to May 2023

  • Timeline item 2 - complete

    Phase 2 kick-off: To trial HeatSens during summer 2023/2024

    July 2023

  • Timeline item 3 - complete

    Phase 2: Research and planning

    September to November 2023

  • Timeline item 4 - active

    Data tool being used by City of Melbourne staff

    1 December 2023 to 29 February 2024

  • Timeline item 5 - incomplete

    Analysis and review

    March 2024

  • Timeline item 6 - incomplete

    Pilot learnings and value shared

    April 2024

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The tech and data

HeatSens is a web-based platform that enables us to view, analyse and understand heat risk in Melbourne. It will also send automated information and alerts to us to stay up to date on changing conditions over the summer.

HeatSens brings together a variety of data to analyse and understand heat risk across Melbourne.

The platform combines the following data:

  • Census information including population and demographic
  • historical heatwave
  • land surface temperature
  • urban tree canopy (where trees are in Melbourne)
  • surface types (for example, concrete pavement, bitumen road, grassed areas)
  • building footprints
  • residential dwellings
  • landmarks and critical infrastructure

We can also add more data to the platform to enable different views simultaneously. No personally identifiable information is captured by HeatSens.

We are using this data to help us build our capability to support Melbourne in a heat event. We are trailing how data can help us in our heat response.

The data is hosted by the HeatSens platform. We are linking City of Melbourne data via the tool, data that is available in our Open Data platform. ClimaSens data is stored in Australia.

City of Melbourne staff who deliver heat event support will use the data this summer. HeatSens will complement their heat response this summer.