New Tool Accesses Chicago Open Data

OpenGrid gathers together Chicago's open data, letting users specify areas of focus on a map of the city. Users can also overlay different datasets on the same map.

1 minute read

February 27, 2016, 7:00 AM PST

By Philip Rojc @PhilipRojc


Downtown, now

Payton Chung / Flickr

Chicago's open data community have already created tools to curate what the city makes public. OpenGrid is an effort by the city to collect that data and make it more accessible. Whet Moser writes, "It's an interface for the city's open data that allows users to run their searches off a map, creating their own geographies as they go and mashing up data as they wish."

Prior to OpenGrid, the city used a similar tool called WindyGrid to help plan events, services, and public safety. "With backing from Bloomberg Philanthropies and hosting by the Smart Chicago Collaborative, the city built a public version—OpenGrid—atop Plenar.io, an open-source infrastructure for open data."

Brenna Berman, Chicago's chief information officer, sees OpenGrid as a way for researchers to define neighborhoods and communities independently from official distinctions. "'Lots of people, the neighborhood that they recognize is not in their ward or community area,' Berman says. 'The polygon that I'd draw crosses two wards and community areas. These formal things are not where we live.'"

Wednesday, January 27, 2016 in Chicago Magazine

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