Cook County Earns URISA Exemplary System Recognition for Medical Examiner Online Data Portal

The Cook County Medical Examiner Maps and Data Portal today received the Urban and Regional Information Systems Association (URISA) Exemplary System recognition. The portal provides up-to-date information about deaths in Cook County, including those caused by gun violence and the opioid epidemic.

In 2017, the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office and Cook County’s Bureau of Technology teamed up to create  the first-of-their-kind interactive dashboards, maps and an open dataset providing the public with a geographic visualization of every Medical Examiner case since 2014. The system is updated daily.

“As Cook County continues to face challenges like gun violence and an opioid epidemic, this portal can aid researchers, medical professionals, law enforcement, journalists and the public in obtaining vital data,” Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle said. “We are honored that URISA has recognized our efforts to provide our stakeholders with information about these public health and safety issues.” 

Cook County is the second largest County in the United States by population and has the second largest medical examiner office. Approximately 6,000 deaths fall within the office’s jurisdiction every year.

In Cook County, 743 people died as a result of gun violence last year.

Cook County has also seen a marked increase in the use of opioids. In 2017, approximately 1,100 people died due to opioid overdose. In 2016, 1,091 people died from an opioid overdose – a 70 percent increase compared to 2015. 

Part of the online data initiative includes interactive maps, which users can customize to visualize where deaths are occurring, create heat maps and locate clusters and trends.

Since 1980, URISA's Exemplary Systems in Government Awards have recognized extraordinary achievements in the use of geospatial information technology that have improved the delivery and quality of government services. The award competition is open to all public agencies at the federal, state/provincial, regional and local levels.