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Dublin’s Hugh Lane Gallery: Understanding Visitor Patterns and Flows Using a Unique, Privacy-by-Design Approach

The Hugh Lane Gallery is one of Ireland’s most beloved cultural institutions. Located in the North of Dublin’s City Centre, the Gallery is home to an exceptional collection of contemporary and modern Irish art, attracting visitors from every corner of the globe. Admission to the Gallery is free, allowing for widespread enjoyment of the Gallery’s treasures. But with the public good of free access, comes the challenge of quantifying and understanding the volume of visitors and how they experience and enjoy the Gallery.

Project Activities

The Hugh Lane Gallery, working with Dublin City Council’s Smart City team, set out to identify technological solutions that would provide accurate, non-intrusive analytics, measuring how many visitors attend the Gallery and how the move throughout the Gallery. This vital information can assist in exhibition curation; optimising and enhancing the experience of visitors, improving and understanding space utilisation, as well providing important health and safety information.

Working with technology provider Arm, an innovative, privacy-enhanced technology was identified, that gathers and analyses anonymised data from a system of connected cameras within the Gallery. This novel approach visualises and monitors trends and patterns in the use of the Gallery. This information is processed “on- the-edge”, meaning processing occurs on the camera device, no video footage is saved or stored in the cloud, changing the model and reducing privacy and security concerns.

A flow of anonymised numerical data representing flows and movement is subsequently visualized through heat maps on a dashboard, which the Gallery management can access. During the entire process, no images of individuals within the line of sight of the cameras are stored.

This dynamic dashboard provides access to information relating to the trends of the gallery. The visualisations of data on the dashboard inform gallery management on how long people tend to stay, how people choose to move around the gallery and give the gallery insight into the demographic of their audience.


A better understanding of visitors’ habits and touring trends will help the Gallery to address their needs and provide them with the best visitor experience. The data insights can also help to measure the impact of marketing campaigns and assist in health and safety planning

Revenue savings can be achieved by linking the data to lighting and heat monitoring systems and in turn save energy.

The real-time information will provide an opportunity to measure the impact of signage and lighting on visitors’ movements. This information can help improve the effectiveness of wayfinding strategies and allow measurement of redesigns.

The data can also be used to provide enhance visitor experience by better space allocation and planning.

(This project will remain on hold while Covid-19 restrictions are in place)


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