Preckwinkle announces the launch of Connect to Cook – An Interactive Web-Based Economic Development Tool

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle today announced the launch of Connect to Cook, a robust web-based GIS application aimed at encouraging economic development within Cook County. The interactive tool was developed by the Cook County Department of Geographic Information Systems in collaboration with the Bureau of Economic Development and is available at no charge by accessing the County’s website at on any PC or Mac. “Connect to Cook provides business owners, residents and entrepreneurs with free access to critical information to help them open a business or relocate to Cook County. The available data includes map layers such as transportation infrastructure, recreation, housing, business and manufacturing locations. The tool can help users determine customer communities, display potential competitor locations and analyze the population within a specific drive-time or distance,” Preckwinkle said. Connect to Cook includes open data access to over 5,000 variables for demographic, consumer spending, business and traffic data. The data can be analyzed in a geographic context that allows users to choose samples as granular as block groups, census tracts or ZIP Codes. Menus allow the information and datasets to be customized and displayed in a variety of ways. The application combines demographic and business data, maps, and advanced spatial analytics to help answer detailed economic development questions within Cook County. It was developed with ESRI (Environmental System Research Institute), an international supplier of GIS (Geographic Information System) software.