Switching on Darwin


City of Darwin

Darwin Municipality Area, Northern Territory

Project stage



Start date: 26 November 2018
End date: 29 May 2019

Project value

Australian Government funding:


  • Northern Territory Government
  • Telstra

Focus area

  • City and community planning
  • Visitor experience
  • Innovation and economic development
  • Facility and services management (buildings, energy, waste, utilities)
  • Public safety (crime and disaster prevention and management)
  • Natural environmental data and measurement (air quality, dust, noise, waterways)

Project type

  • Smart lighting
  • Smart energy
  • Visitor experience
  • Public safety
  • Active lifestyle/mobility
  • Smart parking
  • Environmental monitoring
  • Smart governance
  • People movement

Technology type

  • Internet of Things
  • Wi-Fi
  • CCTV
  • Augmented/Virtual reality
  • Network infrastructure
  • Data Management (Data platform, open data, data privacy and security, blockchains, standards)
  • Hardware
  • Wireless sensor networks
  • Environmental sensors
  • Smart poles
  • Cloud computing
  • Online portal

Open data link

Project link

Project summary

Switching on Darwin is a record project for Australian smart cities deployments—having the highest budget allocation of $10 million, consisting of a $5 million-dollar contribution from the Australian Government, $2.5 million-dollars from the Northern Territory Government and $2.5 million-dollars from City of Darwin.

The project's purpose is to roll out a range of innovative technologies into the city centre; including:

  • Smart LED streetlighting
  • Free public Wi-Fi
  • Weather and particulate sensors
  • Parking bay sensors
  • CCTV with smart analytics
  • a ‘City Intelligence Platform’ for data analysis and decision making
  • Community Audio in the Mall
  • City wayfinding kiosks.

The challenge

Promote vibrancy and activation of Darwin's city centre, to encourage people to live, work and be active, establishing Darwin as a preferred destination.


Switching on Darwin allows Council to understand and plan infrastructure to mitigate heat, enhance public space participation and safety, improve service delivery and provide connectivity for people. These outcomes position Darwin as a data-driven, smart and prosperous city.


Smart LED streetlights have been deployed across the city, increasing the safety of public spaces during the evening, enhancing Darwin's nightlife and reducing energy consumption.

Wi-Fi is a significant enabler of digital connectivity and public space activation, garnering over 8,000 unique connections. Encouraging people to spend time in the city leads to increased engagement with local businesses, usage of green spaces and further tourism opportunities.

Weather and particulate sensors are being used to measure the impact of infrastructure developments, such as heat mitigation, as well as providing pre-emptive alerts about health and weather-related risks. Council supported a national data ‘hack’ event with this data.

Smart parking sensors enable Council to have an improved understanding of parking usage in the city centre and to develop parking strategies to ease congestion. There have been over 280,000 parking sessions recorded, and a large uptake of payment alternative, PayStay, allowing Council to remove physical parking meters.

City of Darwin can study anonymised analytics from additional CCTV in the city centre, with the goal of understanding pedestrian flows and traffic statistics, to influence city planning.

The City Intelligence Platform is a gateway for Open Data – supporting small businesses, organisations and citizen scientists to be innovative in new and exciting ways.

As Council reviews and revisits its smart city strategy, future deployments for the above technologies will be prioritised for other areas

Lessons learned

Project management—Being the largest deployment of smart city technologies in Australia, Switching on Darwin challenged Council to deliver within the defined budget and time frames. The broad scope of the project meant each deliverable item required detailed attention.

Data Governance—Council understands how important data privacy is to the community. The collection of data from multiple sources required Council to revisit its policies regarding privacy and data. One outcome of this was impact assessments being conducted across Council's systems.

Stakeholder Management—This project involved over 10 different vendors who were accountable for many distinct project objectives. It was crucial to continually review performance and deadlines, for each of the deliverable items, to adhere to the project plan. Consistent stakeholder engagement was key to succeed.


  • Recipient of the Smart Cities Awards’ ‘Smart City of the Year—Regional’ award, 2019
  • Upgrading 912 CBD street lights to LED smart lighting
  • Extension of free Wi-Fi network—38 New Access Points
  • 138 CCTV cameras in CBD for vehicle and pedestrian movement analysis
  • 251 parking bays with sensors Smart parking technology
  • 25 Micro climate and environmental monitoring systems
  • A cloud based smart city platform for dashboard reporting and visualisation

Contact details

Name: Joshua Sattler
Phone: 08 8930 0444
Email: Joshua.Sattler@darwin.nt.gov.au