Statewide government transparency website launches

Susan Du, City Editor

Gov. Pat Quinn announced late last month the launch of the Illinois Open Technology Challenge, a transparency pilot program that asks local governments to rally technology developers, regional college talent and ordinary residents to create digital tools for the aggregation and dissemination of public information available in the state’s open data platform.

The initiative challenges local governments to make public records more accessible to their constituents and to use technological innovation to solve problems at the municipal level.

The Illinois Science and Technology Coalition and the Smart Chicago Collaborative will advise local governments on how to disseminate data gathered from and educate community organizations on how to utilize locally developed start-up technology. The state and the Illinois Science and Technology Coalition recently began training government technology managers to interact with the state database as users and contributors.

The state records aggregator expanded to four pilot communities in 2012: Belleville, Champaign, Rockford and the South Suburban Mayors and Managers Association, an intergovernmental agency. Sites Metro Chicago Data, Metro Chi and the South Suburban Atlas will provide additional information for local technology developers.

The Illinois Open Technology Challenge will include at least $75,000 in awards, and the developer who creates the strongest application will receive additional recognition. Communities will be rewarded based on whether their homegrown talent can build digital tools with real life potential to serve civic needs and create jobs.

— Susan Du