Past Winners

CHICAGO : 2013 WINNER

SmartData Platform: Solving Problems Before They Start

  • 2,719,000

    Population (2013)
  • $57,752

    GDP per capita (2013)
  • English

    Official language
  • Directly elected mayor (four-year term)

    Type of government
  • Additional facts

    • Chicago’s Open Data Portal, launched in 2010, was one of the first in the nation and currently has more than 600 datasets.
  • • The City of Chicago collects more than 7 million rows a day – data on everything from traffic patterns to weather to the location of libraries, schools, sidewalks, and public parks.

The Problem

Few cities can routinely draw insight from the growing number of large data sets that are collected across departments. Chicago receives seven million units of administrative data each day, but has a limited ability to harness the power of this information to predict outcomes and allocate resources to stop problems before they start.

The Innovation

Chicago’s SmartData Platform gives leaders a tool to analyze “big data” leading to smarter, earlier decisions to address a wide range of urban challenges — ranging from rat infestations, to elevator maintenance to traffic management. The SmartData Platform aggregates multiple sources of city data so that it can be easily analyzed to find patterns and predict outcomes. This information is critical for both real-time decision-making and long-term planning.

The Impact

Chicago’s investment in analytics has already improved the way the city operates— increasing restaurant and elevator inspection efficacy, lead-paint detection, rodent control, and West Nile virus protection. And the SmartData platform, which is open-source, is available to cities around the world.


  • Additional facts

    • Chicago’s Open Data Portal, launched in 2010, was one of the first in the nation and currently has more than 600 datasets.
  • • The City of Chicago collects more than 7 million rows a day – data on everything from traffic patterns to weather to the location of libraries, schools, sidewalks, and public parks.

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