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.

Community Call: NTEN’s Digital Inclusion Fellowship Q&A

The Nonprofit Technology Network (NTEN) has just announced that applications are open for their 4th Cohort of the National Digital Inclusion Fellowship. For this round, 2 positions are available in Chicago, supported by Capital One. Since many of our Connect Chicago trainers and nonprofit staff will be eligible to apply for this opportunity,we wanted to elevate it!

What: Digital Inclusion Fellowship (DIF) Cohort 4 Community Call

When: Tuesday, November 7, 2017 1pm central / 11am pacific

Register: Please visit this NTEN website to RSVP and receive call-in information. 

Why apply for the NTEN Digital Inclusion Fellowship? You’ll have access to NTEN resources to help you craft or improve new, needed digital access and skill-building programming for your organization. In addition, you’ll have the opportunity to travel, participate in monthly online trainings, learn from fellow cohort members’ work across the country, and receive 1-on-1 support from NTEN staff. Your work will also be of value to the whole Connect Chicago community — your methods, new materials, and lessons learned will bring value to our whole community of practice. We look forward to seeing the progress your leadership brings and potentially showcasing your work through our Meetups and newsletters!

Note that the call is free and you don’t have to be an NTEN member to attend, but you do have to sign up in advance! To sign up, visit this page. 

On a personal note, I’m so pleased to see this opportunity come to the Chicago ecosystem which is rich with creative, passionate tech trainers and advocates from many mission-drive organizations. I’ve had the opportunity to support, advise, and collaborate with previous Digital Inclusion Fellows, so it’s wonderful to see the work spread to new cities!

About the Digital Inclusion Fellowship (DIF)

The Fellowship program supports local non profit leaders in creating and building the most effective programs that best serve their communities. With the support of their organization and supervisors, non profit staff participate in a year of learning, sharing, and developing their digital literacy programs.

Fellows in this year-long professional development cohort will develop digital literacy programs specifically suited to serve their communities. These programs may help:

• parents access online school portals job seekers achieve certifications develop, resumes, and search for jobs

• seniors use tablets to communicate with family

• residents access government information and programs

• entrepreneurs start or expand an online business

• participants acquire devices

The Fellow, Fellow’s regular employer, and NTEN staff will craft a set of tangible goals including the number of individuals served, instruction time, and volunteers trained.

You can apply for the Fellowship online HERENote that prospective fellows and their supervisors are expected to submit material, too!

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.

Announcing the October 18th Array of Things Public Meeting at Association House

Continuing the Array of Things Civic Engagement Work from 2016, we’re pleased to announce a new public meeting on Wednesday, October 18, 2017:

Event: Array of Things Public Meeting

Date: Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Time: 5:30pm – 7:30pm

Location: 1116 N Kedzie Ave –Association House. Note that the meeting will take place in the 1st floor cafeteria.

RSVP: Learn more and confirm your attendance at bit.ly/1018aotmeeting

This is an open meeting. Everyone is invited and no knowledge of technology or sensors is required to be a welcome, meaningful addition to the event. Though we’re collecting RSVPs online, not that walk-ins are very welcome — we’re just asking for RSVPs to assist us with estimating food.

This meeting is hosted by the Association House, a vital community anchor institution and local leader providing essential educational and workforce development services everyday. According to their website:

Since 1899, Association House has worked with Chicagoans who seek tools to lead more productive lives. It is one of the oldest “settlement houses” in Chicago originally designed to provide relief and guidance to new immigrants. Today, Association House is a vital resource to under-served, multicultural communities, providing collaborative programs in English and Spanish. We promote health and wellness, educational advancement, and economic empowerment. With a staff of over 200 professionals, Association House impacts the lives of nearly 20,000 children, individuals and families each year in the neighborhoods of Humboldt Park, West Town, Logan Square, Avondale, Hermosa, and beyond.

Given Association House’s leadership and history, we’re so pleased that they are hosting this important civic conversation about how new technologies can be informed by residents and advance local goals and quality of life. The Array of Things project is a collection of multi-purpose sensors that will collect data about the livability factors in our city like air quality, noise pollution, and flooding. These data will fuel new research about Chicago neighborhoods.

Here is the flyer for this meeting:

The purpose of the 2017 Array of Things Public Meetings is educate the public on the Array of Things project and host neighborhood level conversations about hyperlocal research priorities and partnerships. This engagement work began in 2016 with resident-driven conversations about how smart city technologies can be governed and leveraged to improve our communities. You can read more about our goals and model for this civic engagement work here.

If you are interested in attending the Array of Things Public Meetings or would like to receive updates about the projects as well as information about future events or trainings, please fill out this form:

Fill out my online form.

The Array of Things Project is also soliciting community suggestions and ideas about sensor placement. If you would like to submit your idea, make sure to fill out this form on the Array of Things website.

Photo from the 2016 Array of Things Public Meeting at the Lozano Public Library

Documentation from the Community Technology Forum at Greater Southwest Development Corporation

We’ve compiled the public notes and pictures from the April 22nd Community Technology Forum at the Greater Southwest Development Corporation (GSDC). This public-facing documentation will be followed up with a more detailed report from our partners at DePaul University who are presently analyzing and organizing the ideas generated by residents.

Community Technology Forums are participatory design sessions facilitated by Sheena Erete and Jessa Dickinson from the College of Computing and Digital Media at the DePaul University, hosted by leading local technology changemakers like GSDC, supported by Connect Chicago and Smart Chicago, and fueled by resident voices. So many conversations about technology happen in the Loop everyday — we’re pleased to work with so many people and partners to ensure that community-directed conversations about technology are elevated as well.

Pictures from the event are posted on the Smart Chicago Flickr account.

GSDC Community Technology Forum

Here is an agenda from the event:

We’ve compiled some of the documentation from the event in this Google Folder, a subfolder of the larger Connect Chicago Meetup Folder which houses even more resources and material from digital inclusion events. You can see some of the community maps and handouts we used at the Community Technology Forum in that Google Folder.

We also partnered with the City Bureau Documenters Program to capture public-facing notes from the day including broader themes, ideas, and discussion topics. City Bureau strives to “bring journalists and communities together in a collaborative spirit to produce responsible media coverage and encourage civic participation.” Our Documenter, Corli, took the notes below:

I was personally inspired by this work, excited to see how future Community Technology Forums in other neighborhoods will be similar or different. The more I have the privilege of co-organizing and attending sessions like the Community Technology Forum and the Array of Things Civic Engagement Events, the more I realize the value residents can bring to public technology planning processes. Technology and technology resources — whether they are public computer centers, wireless networks, or environmental sensors — can be deployed for residents and with residents’ input.

Read more about Community Technology Forums here.

To get regular digital inclusion updates, events, and news delivered to your inbox, fill out this form: bit.ly/joinconnectchi.