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.


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.

New Maptime Chicago Event: The Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team!

hot_logoFor this month’s installment of Maptime, the group is going to put their OSM skills to work contributing to Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team. Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team (HOT) applies the principles of open source and open data sharing for humanitarian response and economic development. We will:

  • Learn about the Humanitarian OpenStreetMapTeam (HOT)
  • Get introduced to / do a quick refresher on OpenStreetMap and
  • Dive into contributing to a HOT project using the tasking manager.

We’ve featured the HOT Team before, and have been big fans of their work. If you’ve never seen them in action, here’s a short video showing their work during the aftermath of the earthquake in Haiti.

OpenStreetMap – Project Haiti from ItoWorld on Vimeo.

As you can see, HOT team focuses on mapping roads and infrastructure to help responders navigate through disaster areas.

You can learn more about how you can help the HOT Team by registering for the event here!

Event Details:

When: Thursday, May 28th, 6-8pm
Where: Chicago Community Trust (map) – 225 North Michigan Avenue, #2200. Hosted by Smart Chicago.
Contact: or

Join Maptime Chicago & ADA 25 this Friday!

ADA25logoPlease join us on May 22nd to discuss opportunities to improve public and open accessibility data in our community.

In particular, we would like to identify ways in which OpenStreetMap, the free, open, and community-built map of the world, can better capture characteristics of the built environment that impact how people with disabilities move throughout the city.

This is being done in partnership with ADA25 Chicago. ADA 25 Chicago will commemorate the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act in 2015 and leverage this milestone to improve the quality of life for people with disabilities—often considered the last frontier of civil rights. The Chicago Community Trust is the lead funder of this initiative.

Maptime Chicago is the local chapter of Maptime – whose mission is to open the doors of cartographic possibility to anyone interested by creating a time and space for collaborative learning, exploration, and map creation using mapping tools and technologies.

Maptime Chicago and Smart Chicago are working to both improve the data in OpenStreetMap and empower community members to contribute to and benefit from the map. We need your insight and feedback to ensure this work reaches the right members of the community and is primed to create lasting impact. We look forward to meeting with you.

The outcomes of this meeting will help Maptime Chicago and Smart Chicago plan a future Maptime event centered around adding and maintaining accessibility data in OpenStreetMap.

You can register for the event here!

Meeting Details

Join us at The Chicago Community Trust for Maptime Chicago!

maptimelogoThe Smart Chicago Collaborative is hosting Maptime Chicago next Thursday at our offices at the Chicago Community Trust (located at 225 N Michigan #2200).

Their first event at the Trust will be a primer on how web maps work. Here’s the event description:

Web maps might look like digital wizardry, but anyone armed with a few basic skills can whip up an awesome-looking web-based map. This beginner-friendly workshop will cover what makes a web map tick. We’ll discuss the technological innovations that brought us to today, the structure of common mapping strategies, and the tools you can use to put your geospatial data on the web.

Maptime is always interactive, so don’t forget to bring your laptop! As always, beginners are very welcome.

Maptime Chicago is part of a larger national organization whose mission is to open the doors of cartographic possibility to anyone interested by creating a time and space for collaborative learning, exploration, and map creation using mapping tools and technologies.

Maptime has a huge list of resources on their website for people wanting to get into map making including introductions to OpenStreetMap, D3 tutorials, QGIS, and more.

You can register for the event here. If you can’t make it in person, we’ll also be livestreaming it on our YouTube page. You can also follow Maptime Chicago on Twitter at @MaptimeChi