City of Chicago Launches OpenGrid

OpenGrid_Logo_Horizontal_3ColorToday the Smart Chicago Collaborative helped the City of Chicago launch OpenGrid— a free, browser-based, open source mapping platform displaying Chicago’s robust collection of open datasets. was launched this morning at an event at the University of Illinois Chicago Electronic Visualization Labratory. Chief Information Officer Brenna Berman, Chief Data Officer Tom Schenk, and the Smart Chicago Collaborative kicked off the official launch and demo.

OpenGrid is Public

This important work goes back to WindyGrid, the City’s internal tool displaying all past and present city data. Now, through OpenGrid, the ability to see and layer information about Chicago is in the hands of individual residents. Anyone with Internet access can see Chicago’s data come alive in relation to their homes, communities, and workplaces.

Here is the OpenGrid introductory tutorial:

OpenGrid is Open Source

The City first articulated its plans to build a public-facing WindyGrid and open up the application source code in the 18-month Tech Plan Update. The Plan stated OpenGrid would be “the first open source situational awareness system that other municipalities can use and build upon.”

Smart Chicago’s Role in OpenGrid

Through support from the MacArthur Foundation, Smart Chicago supported the OpenGrid project by creating a service layer to, a spatio-temporal open data platform. This layer serves as a data feed to OpenGrid— if the data is in, it can get into OpenGrid.

We worked with technology partner Uturn Data Solutions to create the code that drives the data. This easy-to-deploy stack can be used by any municipality or organization to display open datasets on a map. This entire project is dependent on our Amazon Web Services account, which is maintained by Uturn. We also serve many Chicago-based technologists via our Developer Resources program,

We’re proud of our continued work with the City to deliver on the Tech Plan, with local developers to encourage their role in the civic tech ecosystem, and with the University of Chicago to support the platform for data ingest.

Here’s a set of photos from launch day: