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March 21, 2012

Governor Quinn, Cook County President Preckwinkle and Mayor Emanuel Announce First-Ever Converged Data Site
Through innovative collaboration, merged data will lead to better services, access to vital information and further innovation

March 21, 2012 – Chicago, IL – Governor Pat Quinn, Cook County President Toni Preckwinkle and Mayor Rahm Emanuel today unveiled www.MetroChicagoData.org, the nation’s first “convergence cloud” site that brings public data from the City of Chicago, Cook County and the State of Illinois into a single open portal to help increase service efficiencies, access to vital information and new innovation.

"We are collaborating with our partners, the City of Chicago and Cook County, to not only break down the barriers between us and increase government transparency, but also to apply the lessons learned in the world of information technology to create new opportunities for entrepreneurship, foster creativity and create jobs,” said Governor Quinn. “Making raw data more easily available to the public in areas such as health care, public safety, economic development and transportation will make government accessible and empower our citizens to develop new software applications to improve government processes."

This groundbreaking initiative, developed by State, County and City technology staff in partnership with Socrata, connects the three existing open data programs at each organization into one place. Anyone is now able to find, explore and share online resources across jurisdictional boundaries using a single web interface based on common themes such as healthcare, public safety, housing and education. By bringing the data together it ensures that the three governments can begin to speak a singular “data language” and further exemplifies all three governments’ commitment to open government.

“Transparency enables accountability and strengthens public trust,” said President Preckwinkle. “MetroChicagoData.org is another step in providing tools to help the public measure outcomes, find services, and see the impact of policies across all three levels of government.”

"This unprecedented initiative will foster innovation, economic development and more efficient delivery of services," said Mayor Emanuel. “When we break down bureaucracies and our governments work together, we open new doors for our constituents."

MetroChicagoData.org includes the following design and functional features:

  • Technology that automatically and seamlessly creates a connected data cloud from data.cityofchicago.org, data.cookcountyil.gov and data.illinois.gov without any duplication or delay.
  • Automatic full-text indexing of every data set’s content, regardless of originating organization, to facilitate a unified online search and discovery experience.
  • Simple, easy-to-use interfaces that allow non-technical users to interactively explore data, visualize it, and share contextually-relevant information with others—on the site, across the web, and on social networks.
  • An easy to use site design that allows information to be accessed quickly and with ease.

This initial release of Metro Chicago Data organizes data sets using a common system of categories, which includes Housing and Property, Economic Development, Education, the Environment, Government Administration, Ethics, Health & Human Services, Public Safety, Tax and Revenue, and Transportation.

The site also features the first-ever composite data sets that combine related data from all three partners, including:

  • An interactive map explorer for the area’s hospitals, clinics and other healthcare facilities that are operated by the city, the county or the state.
  • A common directory of government buildings and facilities in metro Chicago.
  • A data package that includes tax, permits, investment incentives, and regulation data to streamline businesses’ access to administrative information.

The State of Illinois’ Chief Information Officer Sean Vinck, Cook County Chief Technology Officer Greg Wass and Chicago’s Chief Data Officer Brett Goldstein worked in collaboration with Socrata to develop the new site.


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