Chicago City Data Users Group - Cook County Open Data Ecosystem

There’s nothing that excites us more than hearing about how our fellow Chicagoans are leveraging open data to promote civic engagement, to power innovation and to supercharge economic opportunity. We attended the Chicago City Data Users Group meetup to hear about what data and toolsets that Cook County provides for everyone. This event was titled, “Cook County’s Open Data Ecosystem“.

Event Takeaways

Illinois’ Cook County has been one of the nationwide leaders in providing transparent access to their data. The recent release of Cook Central, a one-stop shop for access to mapping and geographic data provided by the County’s Department of Geographic Information Systems (GIS), underscores this transparency.

The Connect to Cook GIS mapping application is an invaluable resource that provides business owners, residents, and entrepreneurs with free access to critical information that will help them open a business or relocate to Cook County.

Moving Forward

Cook County provides its open data through Socrata, a software platform that helps governments use their data strategically. Their platform is optimized using cloud technology. Now, more than ever, organizations need to review their use of technology and determine where they can best leverage cost and process optimization by strategic use of the cloud.

Although it may not hold true for all organizations and use cases, the principles of Open Government Data or Open Data lines up with our philosophy on discovering what is possible with technology. Rather than act as the gatekeeper to this enormous amount of data, what type of discoveries can you unlock? What benefits can be found from processing and analyzing this data with the modern cloud technologies today?

The good news is that it’s a lot cheaper to innovate through proof of concepts or experiments.

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