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City Tries to Streamline Data Access With New OpenGrid App

By Ted Cox | January 19, 2016 4:38pm
 The city's new OpenGrid site is available as a smartphone app.
The city's new OpenGrid site is available as a smartphone app.
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DNAinfo/Ted Cox

CITY HALL — The city is trying to streamline data distribution through a new OpenGrid website that is also available as a smartphone app.

Already online, OpenGrid grows out of the city's extensive, but sometimes unwieldy Data Portal, and attempts to make the same basic information more readily available, especially by ward or neighborhood.

Calling Chicago "a leader in using open data to better serve its residents,” Mayor Rahm Emanuel said, "OpenGrid is the next step in making open data accessible to Chicagoans, and it is part of our ongoing commitment to transparency and innovation in city government."

The site's ready-made search topics such as "potholes near me" are easily adapted to a ward or ZIP code, although other more advanced searches can be more hit and miss, at least to start out.

The site is run by the Smart Chicago Collaborative at the Chicago Community Trust, but it's considered an open-data project, and the city expects that it will be improved with input, while accommodating freshly developed sites by outsiders, such as wasmycartowed.com.

"OpenGrid builds on the city’s commitment to use innovative tools to improve the lives of all residents," said Brenna Berman, commissioner of the Chicago Department of Innovation & Technology. "We will continue to make more data available to the public and enhance tools that make that data usable, and in doing so, put the power of data into the hands of Chicago’s communities."

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