Responsible Sensing Toolkit

If you are a city innovator thinking about deploying sensors for monitoring, this Toolkit is a step-by-step guide that will help you on your journey.

Societal values guide difficult decisions government innovators need to make when thinking about using sensors for monitoring. Working with the City of Amsterdam CITIXL has created a six step process to help you on your way. This Toolkit is designed to help inform you about important considerations based on our experience and help you navigate the dilemmas you may encounter.

Step by step guide

The Responsible Sensing Toolkit empowers municipalities, organisations, and communities to implement ethical, open, and effective sensing solutions for public spaces.

Each step has a short summary and three sections you can explore:

  • Questions: to help you think about important considerations
  • Resources: to provide you with insights and examples
  • Video Library: with short but informative expert interviews

Define User Cases and Goals

Consider the social values and ethical aspects of sensing projects. Learn about Privacy by Design, measuring invasiveness and proportionality.

Project Scope and Brief

Identify location, stakeholders, and timelines to answer where, with whom, and when to deploy your project.

Technical, Legal, and Spatial Considerations

Starting with an ethical framework, learn how these elements are linked together by Privacy by Design. 

Public Engagement and Communication

Plan how to engage the public in a productive dialogue to create awareness, support, and participation.

Data Collection and Processing

Collect, store, process, visualise, and share data safely and responsibly with the public and stakeholders.

Impact analysis, Reflection and Evaluation

Analyse the data to measure social impact, reflect on your project, and plan next steps with ethics in mind.

The Decision Canvas

As you can see this whole process is quite complex – there are a lot of decisions to be made based on a lot of information which changes based on many factors.

The Responsible Sensing Toolkit is designed to help identify dilemmas rather than provide solutions so municipal innovators can make decisions responsibly and ethically within a simple framework. To easily explore crowd monitoring dilemmas, we also created a 'Decision Canvas'.

Download Decision Canvas

If you need help, sign up for our Responsible Sensing Toolkit Workshop Trial (Workshop 1). It will help you and your colleagues to identify your dilemmas with the Decision Canvas as a guide. The Workshop Trial takes only one hour and will help you and your team to set up a clear roadmap to a responsible and ethical sensing project. In particular cases this workshop is free of charge.

Read more about our Workshop Trial on the Let's go-page.

Workshop 1 – Quickscan

The Decision Canvas

Designed much like the familiar Business Model Canvas, the RST Decision Canvas helps you and your stakeholders get a comprehensive overview of responsible and ethical sensing approaches. Co-created with the input of several experts and field-tested with practical projects, the Decision Canvas is a proven tool to get you started in the right direction by simply asking one essential question for each of the six steps of the Toolkit. 

Workshop 2 – Deep Dive

From Attention to Action Points

Workshop 1 uncovers potential dilemmas that emerge as “attention points” which then need to be addressed in the context of your specific sensing project. In the second workshop, these points are prioritised by applying a decision tree to guide the discussion as we help the team to explore paths to resolve these dilemmas with practical “action points.” 



Workshop 3 – Roadmap

Responsible Projects and Experiments 

After first identifying then navigating the potential ethical dilemmas for your sensing project, the next and final step is to create an effective roadmap. We work with the team to apply the Toolkit to inform the actions, steps, and resources needed to responsibly and ethically implement your sensing project. Then we facilitate the “ideation” of a first experiment design to measure social impact in a proof of concept.  

Initiators of the Responsible Sensing Toolkit

Daan Groenink

Innovation officer, CTO Office City of Amsterdam

City of Amsterdam

Tom van Arman

Smart City Strategist & Future City Maker, Tapp


Paul Manwaring

Co-founder CITIXL and initiator of the Responsible Sensing Toolkit