Four years ago, Chicago led in the innovation of open data portals. The city was first to appoint a Chief Data Officer and, subsequently, the number of datasets grew to include detailed information on crimes in Chicago, building violations, food inspections, and up-to-date information on 311 calls for service, plus a lot more. It has been a worthwhile investment that has sparked a vibrant civic tech community, start-ups using open data to drive their business, and has even been used by the city to improve efficiency and save money.
To build on this, we developed OpenGrid, which uses that same data but in a more user-friendly interface. You can navigate through more than a dozen datasets at once. Below the fold, we have some quick tips on how you can use OpenGrid.
Take a look at the introductory tutorial for a step-by-step guide to query OpenGrid:
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Check Data & Weather
Weather, especially in Chicago, is an important part of life, which is why we integrated weather directly into OpenGrid. Click the layer icon and select “cloud cover”, “quantity of precipitation”, “sea level pressure”, and “temperature”.
Ever look at moving to a new neighborhood and were curious on how far away it is to the park, to another landmark, or finding a new running path? OpenGrid has a build in measuring tool so you can measure the distance and circumference of an area. Click on the measurement tool in the upper right-hand corner (below the Layers icon) to select the tool. Then, click the points you’d like the measure; the total distance is available as you click. Once you’re done and want to look at the circumference, click “Finish measurement”.