News Article: Justice: There’s an App for That

Today I was quoted in an article in U.S. News & World Report: Justice: There’s an App for That. The article referenced the Smart Chicago project, Crime & Punishment in Chicago.

Smart Chicago, a tech-based organization in the Windy City, tracks information from Chicago law enforcement – “the entire flow, from the commission of a crime to the person going to jail,” says Dan X. O’Neil, its executive director. “The impetus was that the city of Chicago publishes an enormous amount of crime data” that can be used to examine trends, The organization is also teaching computer coding and website development to kids in “neighborhoods most affected by violence and crime,” he adds. “That, we think, is one solution to mass incarceration and hopelessness and crime.”

Justice there's an app for that

Launch: OpenGrid at the UIC Electronic Visualization Laboratory

Today I helped launch OpenGrid— a free, browser-based, open source mapping platform displaying Chicago’s robust collection of open datasets.

Daniel X. O'Neil at UIC EVL. Photo by Lance Long, UIC/EVL

Here’s a set of photos I took:

My role was to take part in the conceptual model of OpenGrid, working with City technology officials to plan the work, and help manage the work of the Smart Chicago tech consultant, Uturn Data Solutions.

Here’s a snip from the launch coverage in the Harvard Data-Smart City Solutions piece on the launch:

“A collaborative union between developers, residents, and government – that’s what Smart Chicago is about, and that’s what OpenGrid is about too,” O’Neil noted at the application’s launch. “This is why we’re on it.”  To build the service layer, Smart Chicago commissioned UTurn Data Solutions, a local IT consultancy focused data storage and Cloud computing projects.

Presentation: The Inefficacy of Dots on Maps at Chi Hack Night

Tonight I gave a few remarks at Chi Hack Night #188: Introducing Open Grid. Take a look at the original source video or see the snip below.

Here’s how Chris Hagan of WBEZ covered these remarks in his article, “Chicago launches OpenGrid, latest step in making open data more accessible“:

Dan O’Neil, executive director of the Smart Chicago Collaborative, which assisted on the project, reminded developers that tools such as OpenGrid are a first step. He pointed out that despite Chicago’s advances in open data, problems such as police misconduct have arguably gotten worse.

“There are no dots on a map that stopped that from happening,” O’Neil said. “There is no set of crime statistics that stopped that from happening. We have to find ways to have communion with people who are not here.”

Communion is what matters.

News Story: Big Ideas 2016 Wanted: The next big development in civic technology

Today I spoke of the failure of civic tech to keep up with advances in the real world around civic engagement. Here’s a snip:

Dan X. O’Neil ⇒, executive director of the Smart Chicago Collaborative, suggested that civic tech would be improved by its leaders spending more time with activists and organizers to learn about their experiences and draw ideas for new tools and services from those conversations.

“I don’t see a direct connection between the people on the streets and the people making tech tools,” he said.

Tribune