Cook County leaders today pledged that
information ranging from health statistics and forest preserve maps to
property taxes and government payroll will be available with the click
of a keyboard or smartphone.
County Board President Toni Preckwinkle and Commissioner John Fritchey,
D-Chicago, said the idea is to not only make more information available
to the public, but to make it easier for people to use.
Cook County Plan that Fritchey expects to introduce at Wednesday’s
County Board meeting will begin the process of creating an “open data
portal” web page, which will centralize new and existing public data
sets in machine-readable and developer-friendly formats, county
officials said. Officials hope to launch the site this summer.
“Let there be no mistake about it: What we are announcing today is
probably the single, largest transformational change in how Cook County
government interacts with the public,” said Fritchey, the new chairman
of the board’s technology committee. “Open government is the direction
of government in the future. Cook County government has been mired too
long in this secrecy and bureaucracy of the past.”
Once the portal, www.opencc.info,
is up and running, county officials say they'll invite web and program
developers, community groups and residents to create new tools to
analyze, visualize and use the data on various platforms, including home
computers and cell phones.
The plan is similar to other “open
government” initiatives established in San Francisco, Washington, DC.,
and King County in Washington state.
County officials could not
provide cost estimates, but county chief information officer Greg Wass
said that the money already has been set aside.
The county's plan is laid out at www.cookcountyil.gov/opening-cook-county.