Cook County is home to what is arguably the country's largest civic tech community. The heart of this community is arguably Chi Hack Night, whose weekly event regularly draws crowds of over 100. But the crowd that shows up on any given Tuesday night is small compared to the civic tech army who participate in projects and conversations through GitHub.
The local civic tech community expands well beyond Chi Hack Night. The City Data User Group, Free Geek Chicago and many more groups with overlapping memberships and interests make up a diverse and engaged community of coders, data scientists, entrepreneurs and do-gooders.
For those of us in the Cook County tech team, they make terrific partners. We share the same goals and the same passion for civic technology. When this community gathers in meetings and meet-ups throughout the area, we want to be there. In the past year Cook County has been represented in well over 100 such events. We are also working to develop a social media presence that will let us engage further.
Cook County's open government mission isn't just to inform the public. Ultimately, our mission is to help people. By sharing data and information with the civic tech community, we enable them to build things beyond our own immediate capacity. Many of these apps or innovations are tremendously valuable to the public.
In addition to providing data and information, we hope to strengthen the fabric of this community. A strong civic tech community is a public asset.
Congratulations Chi Hack Night!