The Smart Beaches Project

Smart Beaches Project


Lake Macquarie City Council

Redhead Beach and Blacksmiths Beach in Lake Macquarie, and Manly Beach and Shelly Beach in the Northern Beaches, New South Wales

Project stage

In progress


Start date: 19 November 2018
End date: 31 May 2020

Project value

Australian Government funding:


  • Northern Beaches Council
  • University of Technology Sydney
  • Orion Integration
  • Nokia
  • Urban Institute
  • Reekoh
  • NSW Data Analytics Centre
  • Dantia
  • NNNCo
  • Meshed

Focus area

  • Visitor experience
  • Education and public health

Project type

  • Visitor experience
  • Public safety
  • Active lifestyle/mobility
  • Smart amenity management
  • Environmental monitoring

Technology type

  • Internet of Things
  • Wi-Fi
  • CCTV
  • Data Management (Data platform, open data, data privacy and security, blockchains, standards)
  • Hardware
  • Wireless sensor networks
  • Environmental sensors
  • IT systems (interoperability)
  • Cloud computing

Open data link

Project link

Project summary

The Smart Beaches Project combines smart infrastructure technologies with advanced data analytics and machine learning to generate new real-time and forecasted insights into beach visitation and conditions. Professional lifeguards and coastal experts will validate data through a co-design process. Targeted Council, community and business engagement will deliver smart tools and data discovery to improve beach safety, activate coastal precincts and catalyse local innovation. Public participation through education, online consultation and creative elements in the beachscape will bring the project to life.

The challenge

  • Lack of accurate timely information for local beach conditions and rapid dissemination of information.
  • Lack of real-time and forecasted usage of beach assets and public spaces for efficient and responsive provision of beach services.
  • Public engagement in improving and understanding beach safety.
  • Building Council operational staff capacity to use smart technologies.


  • Utilise open standard LoRaWAN community access technology for no-cost sensor connectivity and lower sensor power consumption.
  • Utilise new technologies to automate the monitoring of environmental variables and people movement, including cameras and machine learning for advanced people counting and wave/swell monitoring. This will open up the possibility of real-time data-driven operational tools, risk management and forecasting.


  • Safer cleaner beaches.
  • Better beach facilities.
  • improved provision of beach safety services.
  • Community digital literacy and participation.
  • Integrated smart beach analysis and sharing platform.

Lessons learned

Technology hardware itself is only a small piece of the puzzle. Most of the work is in systems engineering, software engineering, data integration, analytics and coordination of contributors.


  • We completed the project design during this milestone period. Importantly, we clearly focused the project on lifeguard risk assessments, using technology to build on existing best practice such as that established by Surf Lifesaving NSW during project Blueprint.
  • As part of this process we identified and prioritised the required sensors and data sources including crowd counting cameras, GPS trackers for flags, signs and equipment, lifeguard activity monitors, weather and near-shore wave reports.
  • We have articulated the key hypothesis for the project to address, being:
    • Test the current risk assessment methods (Project Blueprint)
    • Test other risk hypothesis (rule of 12ths, local lifeguard theories)
    • Use AI and Machine learning to establish an update risk algorithm
    • Use AI and Machine learning to establish beach visitation predictor
    • Use sensor data to drive amenity maintenance programs.

Contact details:

Name: Anthony Blunden
Phone: 0436 806 375