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Royal Botanic Gardens seeking data-driven place management

Royal Botanic Gardens seeking data-driven place management
Submitted by Adam Beck on July 2, 2021

By Glenys Morphett | SAGE Automation

Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria is dedicated to the conservation, display and enjoyment of plants and extends over two locations, Melbourne and Cranbourne. The gardens extend over a significant area (38 hectares and 363 hectares respectively) and are highly popular among visitors locally and from overseas.

The Gardens were looking for a way to streamline the process of collecting visitor numbers and movement trends in both gardens to inform planning, maintenance and funding allocation.

In the past, visitor numbers were collected using a manual system at the entrance gates. The infrequency of this collection did not yield a comprehensive picture of visitor trends or movement within the gardens.

SAGE delivered a smart cities solution to continually monitor visitor movement within the two garden locations using passive detection. Thirteen SAGE Edge units were installed (nine devices in the Melbourne gardens and four in Cranbourne) utilising Bluetooth technology to detect visitors in both locations in real-time, and to determine the most popular paths within the gardens and provide data on dwell time.

The three types of Edge device units are either mains powered or use solar-charged batteries that run for extended periods without sunlight, ensuring the sites can be continually capturing pedestrian data. Three of the units at Cranbourne are solar-powered, with the other nine units on mains.

The smallest of these units are ideally suited for use in the heritage-listed gardens as they are visually discreet and have minimal impact on the garden landscape. The anonymous nature of the visitor data collected also suited the public spaces.

This data has enabled Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria to deliver accurate data for public funding requirements, as well as informing planning to improve visitor experience.

The data collected via the devices provides additional insights:

  • Visitor trends over time

  • Visitor movement in relation to weather

  • Detection of return visitors

  • Most popular paths within the gardens

  • Most popular times to visit the gardens

  • Video monitoring to provide enhanced security and analytics that increase the reliability of visitor movement data