In this paper, we investigate modal power distribution (MPD)-based fiber optical stress measurement, and compare power-meter and CCD camera-based techniques. We also consider the sensor location selection problem in the power-meter-based approach, which consists of placing sensor(s) in different locations. We first show that power-meter measurement data can be estimated from CCD camera images by using image processing techniques. As a second result, we also show that the lengthy process of placing sensors in different locations in search of best sensor placement can be totally avoided. We formulate this as a max-min problem, and propose a computer-based solution. (C) 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.