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.

Smart Chicago and the National Day of Civic Hacking

The Smart Chicago Collaborative is proud to be a contributing partner to the National Day of Civic Hacking effort. We’ve been providing content to the national  website, starting with the Civic Hacking 101 video put together by Smart Chicago consultant and Chicago Code for America Brigade Captain Christopher Whitaker. Our goal is to help spread the lessons we’ve learned in Chicago to the rest of the country.

National Day of Civic Hacking at 1871

Additionally, we’ll be hosting a hackathon May 31st – June 1st at the offices of kCura in the Chicago Loop in partnership with Code for America and Random Hacks of Kindness. Each day will be broken down into two sections.

During the first session, we’ll hear from people on the front line of civic work as they talk about their day to day challenges in the fields of education, housing, hunger, disaster response, public safety , and child protective services. In the afternoon, we’ll break out into group and prototype apps that may help address these challenges.

You can register for the event here.

Join us Saturday for OpenStreetMap Spring Editathon!

Smart Chicago Collaborative will be hosting an OpenStreetMap Spring #editathon on Saturday, April 26, 2014 from 12:00 – 5:00 PM CST. Ian Dees, a member of the OSM US Board, will be the host of this event. We’re excited to have regular Chicago residents -people who know all about their communities and want to share with the world – to get involved in OpenStreetMap.

Using Google Maps to make a neighborhood map

Photo by Steve Vance

If the weather is nice, we’ll also be going outside to do some hands-on mapping in the Loop. We’ll supply some paper maps, pens, and clipboards to make mapping easier, but bring a phone to take pictures.

This should be a great event for anyone to get involved in mapping their communities and to learn about OpenStreetMap.

If you’ve never used OpenStreetMap, here’s a short video by Ian Dees about how it works.

Let’s start mapping!

Data Potluck Live! Excel, OpenRefine, and featured partner: NFTE

Tonight, join us for Data Potluck at the Chicago Community Trust!

Chicago Community Trust from the Hallway

DataPotluck XII will continue their focus on hands-on workshopping of tools, focusing on Excel (everyone’s favorite workhorse) and OpenRefine (the coolest, free-est tool to clean data that you haven’t heard of).

Data Potluck’s featured non-profit partner this month is the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE). They’ll have some of their data to work with to learn tools, and staff along for us to learn about–and help brainstorm on–their data- and analytics-related challenges.

This *is* a potluck so bring your favorite food or beverage! Our live stream coverage will begin at 6:15!