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

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.

IoT Council Series: How will IoT Impact your Life?

Smart Chicago and City Digital invite you to join us at the next IoT Council Series event: How will IoT impact your life? This event will explore how the Internet of Things (IoT) can impact our personal and professional lives while sharing examples of IoT in homes, healthcare, and our cities. Everyone is invited and no knowledge of IoT is required to participate in this event. This will be an opportunity to learn more about current IoT applications and ask questions about the impact to you or your communities.

Event: IoT Council Series: How Will IoT Impact Your Life?
Date: Tuesday, November 7, 2017 from 5:30 – 7:30 PM
Location: UI LABS, 1415 N Cherry Ave, Chicago, IL 60642
Free parking! Accessible via CTA Red Line, Blue Line, and buses (#70, #132 and #8)

RSVP here:
Questions related to registration or the event? Email

UI Labs Building with Chicago skyline in background

The Internet of Things (IoT) describes a vast network of connected devices–appliances, buildings, vehicles, and more– that contain sensors and are able to connect to the internet. Examples of IoT include wearable fitness trackers, devices that regulate temperature in homes, and Chicago’s  Array of Things sensors which collect data on the city’s environment and activity for research and public use.

A panel of speakers will discuss these different IoT applications:

  • Danielle DuMerer, Chief Information Officer of the City of Chicago who will share connected government solutions.
  • Chad Curry, Managing Director of CRT Labs– a research group to track emerging technologies that will affect real estate.
  • Gary Conkright, CEO of PhysIQa company that takes data from wearable and implantable devices to learn more about a person’s health.
  • Moderated by Steven Philpott, Co-founder of Colony 5

The event will be hosted at UI LABS, which is our new home, an innovation accelerator that connects partners from university, industry, startups, government, and community groups to address problems in order to advance manufacturing and create smart city infrastructure.

At Smart Chicago, we value opportunities where we can engage people from different sectors and perspectives to learn about and discuss our technology ecosystem. As our world becomes more connected, we need to ensure that people are included in the conversations that will help shape the technology devices and systems being created.

Register here to join us on November 7!


About the IoT Council
The Internet of Things Council’s mission is to drive advancement of IoT technology, policy and industry, establishing Chicago and the Midwest as an epicenter of IoT.

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.


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 

Sonja Marziano

Denise Linn     

Leslie Durr       

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 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

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

On the Table 2017: Digital Equity in Education

Over the past three years, thousands of Chicago-area residents have participated in mealtime conversations about how to improve our community through The Chicago Community Trust’s On The Table initiative. Since the launch of On the Table, participants have indicated that equity and social inclusion were among the most frequent topics of discussion at the events they attended.

So, this year, organizers suggest that equity be part of these conversations. Because equity is at the heart of our collective work, The Hive Chicago Fund for Connected Learning, The Hive Chicago Learning Network, and the Smart Chicago Collaborative invite you to join us in hosting a “multi-table” event focusing on Digital Equity in Education.

Youth Digital Equity is the social-justice goal of ensuring that all young people have equal access and opportunities to use technology tools, computers and the Internet as well as the knowledge and skills to use them effectively.

Our aim is to bring new and different voices to the table, while making this as easy as possible for you. We are hoping to organize at least five tables at our Digital Equity in Education On the Table event.


When: 5-7 p.m. Tuesday, May 16

Where: Northeastern Center for College Access and Success (CCAS) – 770 North Halsted, Suite 420, Chicago IL 60642. Please find out more information about CCAS here:

RSVP at this link.

Host a table!

Interested in hosting a table at this event? We are hoping to organize at least five tables at our Digital Equity in Education On the Table event. If your organization would like to register to recruit and host a table for the event, we welcome you! Hosting a table is easy as 1-2-3.  All you need to do is:

1.) Sign up as a host here: Register to Host

2.) Invite up to nine guests to join your table and let us know who they are. Invite youth.  Invite teachers.  Invite colleagues who aren’t part of Hive or the connected learning community.  Invite friends.

3.) Facilitate your table’s conversation about achieving equity in the digital age.  We’ll take care of the logistics, including the venue, food, and other preparations.

We will provide more detail to table hosts, once you’ve registered. Please let me know if you have any questions.