Cook County Forest Preserves Map

Where can I bring my dog? How do I access that trail? Where can I go cross country skiing? Where can I have that big party? The Forest Preserves of Cook County in partnership with Smart Chicago has developed the Forest Preserves of Cook County interactive map. The Cook County Forest Preserves Map shows location and information about trails, points of interest, activities, and groves.

Some special features of interest:

  • Uses GPS to find trails, points of interest, and activities near you and get directions.
  • Users can search by activity, location name, city, and zip code.
  • The page URL updates as you search or view location details. You can bookmark all the best places to fly model airplanes or share with friends that the picnic is at Schiller Woods-East. Because the page URL updates, the browser back and forward buttons can be used to go to the last search or view.
  • Mobile friendly: The map is designed for both desktop and mobile use. On a mobile device, a user can toggle between list and map views.
  • Search and filtering is local making it more reliable out in the field with an inconsistent mobile connection.

On 10/30/17,  we rolled out the alerts functionality. The map will now show any alerts on the map detail panel. There is also a list version that is embedded on the Forest Preserves website under “Construction, Closures & Other Work“.

The web application is built on two pieces of source code: Trailsy and Trailsy Server, both pioneered by Code for America. All of the data used to power the site is open for all and can be followed on the project’s GitHub page. I am a long-time Smart Chicago Consultant and the main developer on the project who is also working closing with Cook County’s Department of Technology to tackle open data processes and policies countywide. This project was made possible with funding from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention through the Healthy Hotspot initiative led by the Cook County Department of Public Health. Learn more at healthyhotspot.org.

So what can you do at the Cook County Forest Preserves? Here are 5 suggestions:

  1. Did you know that you can play Disc Golf at Cook County Forest Preserves Rolling Knolls Disc Golf Course in Elgin?
  2. Hike 16 miles through the North Branch Trail System Red Paved Trail.
  3. Check out the Kid’s Corner and Butterfly Garden at Sand Ridge Nature Center in South Holland.
  4. Go on a Treetop Adventure and Zip Line at Bemis Woods.
  5. Rent a boat at the Busse Lake Boating Center and explore Busse Lake.

Let us know what you think! Tweet to us @smartchicago and to me @joshkalov.

Chicago Celebrates the Unveiling of the New Chicago Health Atlas

Cheers to Four Years

In 2013 with the generous support of the Otho S. A. Sprague Memorial Institute, the Chicago Health Atlas debuted as the number one resource and repository for health data in Chicago. The Atlas displayed huge amounts of data so that residents could take action to improve their own health, including detailed pages for every hospital in Chicago.

In September 2016, Health & Disability Advocates (HDA) and Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) added a new data set to the Chicago Health Atlas. This addition made demographic and population health data available by Hospital Service Area. Next up, the 75 indicators from the Healthy Chicago 2.0 plan were added to the Atlas. This section allowed CDPH to publicly display the progress of the indicators for plan goals and for residents to follow.

“This new data set is the first time, to our knowledge that population health has been made available at the Hospital Service Area level. These data will help hospitals in their efforts to better understand the needs of the communities they serve, not just their own patients.”- Erica Salem, MPH, Director of Strategic Health Initiatives, Health & Disability Advocates.

On Thursday, October 12th the  City of Chicago’s Public Health Department celebrated the launch of the new Chicago Health Atlas. The new Atlas was originally previewed during the Health Chicago 2.0 one-year anniversary event in held late May.

To date 174 strategies first identified in the plan or (76%) have been implemented or are in progress. Healthy Chicago 2.0 is guided by four key principles; Healthy Chicago 2.0 prioritizes health equity, Healthy Chicago emphasizes collaboration, Healthy Chicago 2.0 addresses root causes of health and Healthy Chicago 2.0 leverages data.

“The Chicago Health Atlas is a key component of our citywide Healthy Chicago 2.0 strategy. Not only does it provide a direct portal for partners, funders and policy makers to access data, but it pr it in an intuitive interface that allows users to create visualizations in real time. This tool will help groups across the city, from government agencies like ours to neighborhood organizations to make more informed decisions that will lead to better health outcomes for all”.– Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Julie Morita, M.D

What Does the New Atlas Offer?

Today, the new Chicago Health Atlas has increased functionality, including data visualization at the community level, the ability to print and/or download raw data and a link to resources by community and, the Health Atlas also maps over 20,000 community resources through data provided by MAPSCorps, a non-profit organization that delivers hands-on STEM training for youth through neighborhood asset mapping. This partnerships marks the first time MAPSCorps data will be used by the City of Chicago for distribution to the public.

“Information is power and MAPSCorps is committed to providing communities across Chicago with quality information about community assets to support residents’ well-being,” said MAPSCorps Executive Director Andres Alvear.

If You Build It They Will Come

With continued support from the Otho S. A. Sprague Memorial Institute, development of the new Health Atlas began in the summer of 2016 with the City of Chicago Department of Public Health, the Smart Chicago Collaborative and the development team at Dom and Tom. This team set out to integrate feedback from users, the Healthy Chicago 2.0 data and ease of use for the city’s consumers of health data.

This integrated process was coordinated by the Smart Chicago team; and after hundreds of hours of targeted weekly meetings, countless video conference calls, revising of data templates and intense discussions around quality and quantity of information the Atlas was ready to be tested.

In Spring of 2017 the Smart Chicago Collaborative conducted the first of a series of usability tests for the new Atlas with volunteers from Chicago’s Health and Human Service community.

The feedback from the initial round of user testing was aggregated and used to inform the future design and further development of the Atlas. The fixes, updates and changes are logged and managed in the smartchicago/chicago-atlas GitHub repository. This repository allows the team to address issues quickly and categorizes others for future updates and enhancements. We are encouraging prototypes of health solutions for our region using the Atlas and its data as a tool.

CDPH is currently planning community based user testing opportunities so that  residents can give feedback on the usability of the tool in help inform future enhancements. These community based events will also provide more focused insight into how residents react and interact with the information that is available on the Atlas.

For example, we are equally as interested in what a parent looking for a resource for childcare in their community has to say, and the researchers who may use the Atlas for the development of policy for specific health related issues.

Sprague Executive Director, James N. Alexander says of the Atlas,

“The Chicago Health Atlas emerged from the need of the community’s public health leaders to have better data for their program and policy work. Portraying complex data through maps and charts to assist the broader community in understanding health patterns and empower wellness was seen as the complementary benefit of an on-line Atlas. By inviting all those with health data to contribute to the expansion of The Atlas, The Institute also achieves its mandate to investigate the cause of disease and prevent and relieve human suffering.”- Otho S. A. Sprague Memorial Institute Executive Director, James N. Alexander

Our hope is that you will use this data to both better understand health in Chicago and identify opportunities to improve health and well-being.

The Chicago Health Atlas is, by design, an evolving tool. Through new and continued public-private partnerships, improved data and continuous updates to the site, we will be better equipped to understand and improve our city’s health.

“The Chicago Health Atlas meets our shared goal of making information more transparent and accessible for all residents. Congratulations to the Smart Chicago Collaborative, CDPH and all our partners for not just creating a new and necessary asset for our city, but creating an example for all other cities to follow”.– Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel

For more information regarding the Health Atlas or if you have feedback, questions or ideas or are interested in becoming a data partner for the Atlas, please email us at HealthyChicago2.0@cityofchicago.org or Leslie.Durr@UILabs.org. The Smart Chicago Collaborative is now co-located with City Digital at UI LABS at 1415 N. Cherry Ave., Chicago, IL. 60642.

Follow us at: Twitter: @ChiPublicHealth; @smartchicago;  @SmartChiLeslie; @UILABS_

Kyla Williams Co-Presents Today at Philanthropy Ohio’s Annual Conference

Today, Leon Wilson, CIO of the Cleveland Foundation, and I will co-present at the Philanthropy Ohio’s annual conference with a theme this year of “Philanthropy Forward” and a concentrated discussion on Digital Civic Engagement & Community-Centered Design. Philanthropy Forward ’17 is set to inform practices, strategies and goals and connect peers in the field of philanthropy. The conference will also focus on the future of philanthropy with insight into the current state of the sector – fueled by recent research – addressing transitions, change and the leadership pipeline. With several networking and roundtable discussions, attendees will discover how to shift failures to successes, effectively fund advocacy and civic engagement and hear from  exceptional leaders across the state and country.

Leon and I also presented in April 2017 at the Council on Foundations Annual Conference “Leading Together” as part of a panel discussion with: Aaron Deacon, Managing Director, Kansas City Digital Drive; Elizabeth Reynoso, Assistant Director of Public Sector Innovation, Living Cities; and Lilly Weinberg, Program Director/Community Foundations, John S. & James L. Knight Foundation on “Supporting Civic Engagement through Technology and Community-Centered Design”. After finishing that presentation we decided more collaborative sharing between cities was necessary and lead to this opportunity at Philanthropy Ohio.

Community building in the digital era requires providing a space for the public sector and local communities to interact. Building solutions with peoplenot just for them – by using community-centered design can have profound social impact. This has been central to Smart Chicago’s work and has lead to the building of processes, products, services, and other lightweight tech solutions that have been helpful.

Our presentation today has the learning objectives:

  • To introduce different models developed in communities to address civic engagement digitally
  • To encourage the consideration of embedding support for digital civic engagement into existing grantmaking & advancement efforts

You can follow the happenings of the conference on Twitter @PhilanthropyOH and @SmartChgoKyla or by using the hashtag #PhilFWD17.

SMART CHICAGO IS MOVING!!!

Good News!!! The Smart Chicago team is moving and now will be co-located with the City Digital Team at UI Labs. As such, our individual emails will be changing to:

Kyla Williams           kyla.williams@uilabs.org

Sonja Marziano       sonja.marziano@uilabs.org

Denise Linn               denise.riedl@uilabs.org

Leslie Durr                 leslie.durr@uilabs.org

Our new mailing address is 1415 N. Cherry Avenue Chicago, IL 60642 and general phone number is 312.281.6900.

Please check our website at www.smartchicagocollaborative.org or follow us on twitter @smartchicago for more updates.

We appreciate your patience during this time of transition.

Women in Tech Speakers Series

Co-authored by Kyla Williams and Derek Eder

Smart Chicago Collaborative and Chi Hack Night have teamed up to create a speaking series in celebration of Women’s History Month in an effort to elevate the talented, diverse women in civic-driven technology across Chicago.

Too often in the tech space we hear about what people do or what product they have made and less about their personal narratives. In this series, we encourage our speakers to share their stories as a transformative learning and inspirational opportunity.

Additionally, we acknowledge the lack of diversity in the civic tech community and believe that becoming more community-based with easier opportunities for engagement and gaining experience will spurn interest in the field and potentially serve as an economic solution to fill technology vacancies in Chicago.

This partnership is especially timely considering Smart Chicago is currently an all women team fighting the good fight on behalf of civic technology and engagement and Chi Hack Night has set a priority area of focus on diversifying its thriving developer community.

The Women in Tech Speakers Series will coincide with the four weekly Chi Hack Night events that occur on Tuesdays at Braintree in Merchandise Mart for the month of March.

Additionally, two community events will be held on Wednesday, March 29th in Homan Square and Thursday March 30th at the DuSable Museum.

It’s important to ensure we are not just highlighting women in technology and their respective stories, but also their roles within the field. Further, if we are going to influence a paradigm shift and draw more interest into the field, demystifying roles and types of opportunities is necessary. We are hopeful that we will be able to continue this partnership and related activities on an ongoing basis, as this is important work.

Event #1 – March 7th, 6pm

The Speaker Series kicks off tonight March 7th with special guest Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle.

Braintree
222 W Merchandise Mart Plz, 8th Floor
Chicago, IL 60654

RSVP – sold out!

Event #2 – March 14th, 6pm

Next week will feature Sandee Kastrul, president and co-founder of i.c.stars, an innovative nonprofit leadership and technology training program founded in 1999 to prepare inner-city adults for technology careers and community leadership.

Braintree
222 W Merchandise Mart Plz,8th Floor
Chicago, IL 60654

RSVP

Event #3 – March 21st, 6pm

Our third event will feature Melissa Pierce, Director of “Born with Curiosity: The Story of Grace Murray Hopper”, an independent documentary about Grace Hopper, who in 1944, was one of the first programmers of the Harvard Mark I computer and invented the first compiler for a computer programming language.

Braintree
222 W Merchandise Mart Plz,8th Floor
Chicago, IL 60654

RSVP

Event #4 – March 28th

On Tuesday, March 28th, we will welcome Robin Robinson, a longtime Chicago television news anchor turned special advisor on community affairs for the Chicago Police Department. In her talk, Robin will discuss the role she has taken on and the work needed to rebuild trust between the Chicago Police Department and the communities it serves. We also welcome the Chicago Federation for Women as they share their Talk It Out initiative, a weeklong conversation series designed to spark understanding about gender bias and the ways it affects women and men.

Braintree
222 W Merchandise Mart Plz, 8th Floor
Chicago, IL 60654

RSVP

Event #5 – Creators & Founders: Women in Civic Tech

Wednesday, March 29th we will welcome a panel of creators and founders, with speakers Allyson Scrutchens of Forward Planning and Dima Elissa of VisMed-3D.              

Homan Square Community Center
3517 W. Arthington Street
Chicago, IL 60624

RSVP

Event #6 – Amplifiers of Community Voice: Women in Civic Tech

Thursday March 30th  we will welcome a panel of amplifiers of community voice with speakers Andrea Hart of City Bureau, Aviva Rosman of Ballot Ready, and Tiana Epps-Johnson of Center for Tech and Civic Life.

DuSable Museum-Auditorium
740 East 56th Place
Chicago, IL 60637

RSVP

We hope you’ll join us in celebrating Women’s History Month and Chicago’s unique and amazing civic technology community. Here’s to Women’s History Month and fruitful partnerships!

 

Youth-Led Tech 2016 Innovations

 Youth-Led Tech 2016 is in the books, however the work that was done in partnership with the Cook County Juvenile Temporary Detention Center  (JTDC) and Nancy B. Jefferson School is still resonating. This being my first year with Smart Chicago and performing in my role as Youth-Led Tech Project Coordinator was everything I thought it would be; innovating, engaging, inspiring and fulfilling. We undertook a groundbreaking opportunity working with 50 youth students at JTDC. Over the course of several months and numerous meetings, Smart Chicago received the nod to present Youth-Led Tech at JTDC, and Chicago Public Schools (CPS) granted approval for the Youth-Led Tech program to provide the .5 credits high school students needed towards their graduation requirement. JTDC residents without a high school diploma or GED are required to attend school during their stay.

Access and Skills

The JTDC program presented unique challenges due to the high security levels in the facility. These challenges were overcome with the development of a modulated curriculum on a closed platform which allowed the JTDC students to experience the technology training and develop their websites in a nearly identical format as the community students. The six week curriculum was modified to three weeks for this pilot to meet the specific needs of this population. During each of the three week sessions we served two cohorts of students.

Students who successfully completed the program were awarded certificates of completion at a graduation held in their honor where they presented their websites to proud family members, friends, JTDC staff members, and teachers. Similar to the community program youth were also provided with an earned learning incentive of keeping the laptop used during the program. Students completing the Youth-Led Tech program and are released on or before 12/31/2016, can contact Smart Chicago to retrieve the laptop and be formally connected to other programming as a recidivism prevention opportunity.

“Smart Chicago is committed to providing ongoing opportunities to support and connect our youth to services that will provide increase access to resources, especially those that touch tech in an effort to sustain and improve the quality of their lives. JTDC students, although currently involved in the juvenile justice, are bright, innovative, and full of potential. The Youth-Led Tech JTDC program pilot proved that if challenged to learn, make better decisions, increased access to technology and tools, and inspiring hope through redemptive opportunities, many of these youth have the ability to be positively contributing community members. We all should want that.” Kyla Williams, Interim Executive Director, Smart Chicago Collaborative

Creative Career Day

Along with the intensive technology training the students at JTDC/NBJ also participated in the 7th Annual Creative Career Day event. This event is a one day opportunity for the students to interact with the Arts and Culture community to visualize employment opportunities in those sectors. This year the event was expanded to include traditional and non-traditional business and tech occupations. Students had the privilege to hear from over 19 organizations and and interact with nearly 40 professionals.

The impact of both programs can be seen in the comments from the presenters as well as the students:

“…thanks so much for this wonderful opportunity to reach out to youth.  It is an important event and I look forward to next year.”  Dr. Lorri Glass, Governor’s State University

“I truly appreciate the opportunities this summer with your programs, they definitely made an impact on my life and I was honored. David Wilkins, RallyCap

“It was the best one ever!” “I could see myself doing that.” “The people had real stories about their life.” Student Comment

Statements like these are part of the reasons why Smart Chicago strives to innovate around solutions and make data driven decisions. Due to the noted success of the program, JTDC administration has requested programming for the Fall 2016/Winter 2017. Youth-Led Tech staff are currently working on a proposal to support meeting that request.