New: The Launch of the CUTGroup Book

The CUTGroup Book is here.

The CUTGroup Book is here.

Smart Chicago is a civic organization devoted to improving lives in Chicago through technology. We work on increasing access to the Internet, improving skills for using Internet, and developing meaningful products from data that measurably contribute to the quality of life of residents in our region and beyond.

We are a startup that was founded in part by our municipal government and nurtured by some of its most venerable institutions. Our founding partners are the City of Chicago, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, and The Chicago Community Trust. As a funding collaborative, we help bring together municipal, philanthropic, and corporate investments in civic innovation.

We have a host of current projects and partnerships, and we are actively seeking to connect ideas and resources in all areas of philanthropy in Chicago.

Foodborne Chicago, Humans, and Big Data on the Data Mine Blog

Here’s a post on the U.S. News & World Report Data Mine blog covering our Foodborne Chicago project: How Twitter and Your Lunch Can Solve Problems. Here’s a snip:

Daniel O’Neil, the executive director of Smart Chicago, who worked with the government on the algorithm, said the project is an example of how big data can be used by health professionals to help people.

“I think the field of big data often removes human beings from consideration,” he says. “Big data, as I see it being practiced, there’s very little direct engagement with people. All the data related to health care is generated from human beings and is crucial to the health and wellness of human beings. I think this project shows one way for big data to always be driven down to the human being and helping people. We need to always take it from big to small and always find out how technology can be of big use to people.”

Open Street Mappers! Help support the efforts to fight Ebola in West Africa

Since March, the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team (HOT) has been supporting the work of Doctors Without Borders by mapping out areas that have been affected by the Ebola outbreak.



During a disaster, the Humanitarian OpenSteetMap Team (HOT) activates to help coordinate mapping of disaster areas. These activities include mapping out roads, buildings, locations of refugee camps, and other resources. In addition, they also maintain a wiki with information about the disaster. To get an idea of what this looks like, here’s what the OSM community did after the earthquake in Haiti.

OpenStreetMap – Project Haiti from ItoWorld on Vimeo.

Currently, the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap team is reposonding to several requests from Doctors Without Borders to help map areas affected by the Ebola outbreak. If you’re a beginner with OpenStreetMap, they’re asking for people to map out the roads using Bing imagery. More experienced mappers are being asked to trace out features near Ebola Treatments Centers in West Africa.

If you have an OpenStreetMap account, you can log into the OSM Tasking Manager and select tasks.

If you don’t have an OpenStreetMap account, you can sign up for an account for free here. OpenStreetMap is easy to use and there are several tutorials available, including this one by Chicago’s very own Ian Dees.

If you have time available, please consider spending some time assisting OSM in the effort. For questions directly relating to the HOT Team at OSM, you can email them at info@hotosm.org.

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