The Sensing Strategies canvas helps communities co-create plans for deploying their sensors and capturing data. It blends expert knowledge with community engagement in critical decision-making processes, thus encouraging commitment. The first stage of the tool involves discussing options with experts in the field, generating consensus on which plans are not only valid, but achievable, given the resources at hand. The canvas then moves on to a stage of planning out the sensing effort (where to position sensors, how the data is collected, how often, and so on). By co-developing this with your sensing participants and experts, your project should find itself with a plan that everyone can get behind.

Format Method, WorkshopTimeframe 2hGroup Size AllFacilitation Level LowRequired Materials Pen and paper, sticky notes, map, markers


  • Producing the Sensing Strategy cards: Think of reliable ways to collect the type of data that will help solve the issue. Be aware that the standard ways to measure the data which interests you may not capture thernimpacts you had hoped. For example, if the measurement of city air quality ignores local variations, it says little about individual health impact. You can measure things in a different way, as long as you follow a basic scientific method.
  • Consensus: Discuss the strategies in relation to the problem, as well as the community’s needs and expectations. What do we want to know, understand or prove? What is the most realistic way of collecting the data? If consensus is difficult, participants can vote to make a choice.
  • Calendar canvas: To agree on when to collect the data use a calendar canvas. Participants place the number of the sensor and the name of the sensor host on designated squares (e.g. John has sensor 5 to collect data from the 7th to the 16th April).
  • Deployment map: The location of data collection can be critical to success. Using a map of the deployment area will help participants make decisions, recognise opportunities or spot challenges.


You cannot capture good quality, usable data without a strong plan. By co-designing sensing strategies, you can develop a plan in sync with not only the needs and availability of the participants, but also the goals of the project.


Keep in mind the guiding question while implementing this method: what should be measured, and when, where, how and by whom?
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