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GCTC logo 344x80.png
Team Organizations Uturn Data Solutions
University of Chicago
Urban Center for Computation and Data
Team Leaders David Matthews
Participating Municipalities Chicago IL
Status Launched
Document None


OpenGrid is an interactive, map-based platform for exploring open data sets in an easy-to-use, map-based interface. OpenGrid enables municipalities to offer residents, businesses, and communities a better way to interact with public data. Users can perform advanced queries to filter data as well as search within custom boundaries or based on the user's location.


OpenGrid allows residents, businesses and communities in the City of Chicago to interact with data about their city and neighborhoods. While the City’s open data portal contains more than 600 public data sets, the portal can be difficult to navigate for non-tech savvy users.


OpenGrid’s familiar map-based interface allows users to easily search and interact with these open data sets.

Major Requirements

  • Cities are collecting more data and, thus, OpenGrid should be able to visualize more data. In addition to visualizing “event data” (e.g., 911, 311, etc.), it should also visualize: trip data (i.e., origin-destination), mobility data, Census data, building-level information, and energy utilizing data.
  • OpenGrid has two primary versions: one running on MongoDB back-end and another using a Postgres-backed platform called, a project by the University of Chicago. Closing the platform gap between running OpenGrid on MongoDB and running it on Plenario is paramount. This would allow more flexibility and harmony between the two versions of the product.
  • Standing up an internal version of OpenGrid on AWS will allow other cities to adopt the internal version of OpenGrid for their own use, and save a considerable amount of time and expense
  • Recruiting other cities to be user/contributors to OpenGrid. Although each city has their own unique challenges, by developing the OpenGrid community, cities can share best practices and reduce development cycles to bring key functionality into their own environments.

Performance Targets

Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) Measurement Methods
  • Open source contributors – In order for the OpenGrid model to work, seeing an increase to the number of contributors is critical
  • OpenGrid adoption by other cities – This can be measured by downloads from the AWS Marketplace
  • Number of data sets on – By measuring the number of data sets added to, the city can qualify which datasets are most important to their residents

These KPIs will be tracked via Github, AWS, and by listing the number of datasets on OpenGrid.

Standards, Replicability, Scalability, and Sustainability

  • City of Chicago has adopted a community-based open source operating model. Contributors include the City of Chicago, academic partners, and private-sector companies. Public calls are held every week with occasional roadmap planning sessions which involve the city, academia, and private industry.
  • In addition to releasing the code online, OpenGrid was also launched in the AWS Marketplace. The goal is to make OpenGrid easy and inexpensive for other cities to adopt. By launching OpenGrid for Smart Cities as an AMI on the AWS Marketplace, smaller cities can download the SW and start using in a matter of days and weeks, compared years that it took Chicago to develop

Cybersecurity and Privacy



  • OpenGrid was initially designed to improve public safety by increasing the ability of governments to monitor multiple feeds of data in a single source. This application will be able to aid other cities to monitor and respond to public safety events.
  • OpenGrid also allows the public to view data in a central location. Cities can deploy it as a complement to existing open data portals to provide a more succinct, centralized view to city data.
  • In addition to traditional public safety, OpenGrid can also be used by other city staff for a universal view into city operations. Inspection managers, for instance, will be able to look at permits and citations issues by many departments, instead of her own team. City staff will be able to identify systematic issues impacted the city by removing silos between data.
  • OpenGrid was open sourced by the City of Chicago under the Apache 2.0 license which encourages future development and improvements by the private and public sectors.


OpenGrid has two primary uses.

  • An alternative to their Open Data Portal. At the GCTC conference, Uturn will be able to demonstrate the Open Data publically facing version called OpenGrid for Smart Cities which is currently available on the AWS Marketplace
  • The internal version of OpenGrid is a situational awareness platform that allows the city to view data from a multitude of internal sources on a single map. The City of Chicago will demonstrate how this version works, relative to the Open Data version.