The CUTGroup Book


Our partners at the Smart Chicago Collaborative have released a website and book, The CUTGroup Book, detailing the findings of their Civic User Testing Group, a set of regular Chicago residents who get paid to test civic apps.

The book includes a how-to on civic tech engagement, examples of tools and methods for app testing, and real-life examples.

You can download a PDF of the book for free or order it as a real book on Amazon. Also read about the contributions of dozens of people who made it happen.

CUTGroup_Cover-660x1024, the next stage in open data


A new open-source product called is doing some cool stuff with open data accessibility. The project is funded by the National Science Foundation and the MacArthur Foundation.

Plenario is designed to take us from “spreadsheets on the web”1 to truly smart open data. This rests on two fundamental breakthroughs:

1)  Allow users to assemble and download data from multiple, independent data sources, such as two different municipal data portals, or the federal government and a privately curated dataset.

2)  Unite all datasets along a single spatial and temporal index, making it possible to do complex aggregations with one query.

With these advances, Plenario allows users to study regions over specified time periods using all relevant data, regardless of original source, and represent the data as a single time series. By providing a single, centralized hub for open data, the Plenario platform enables urban scientists to ask the right questions with as few constraints as possible.

Read more:

Popular in Chicago: Sept. 19th


Happy Friday! Here are some of the happening threads of the week on EveryBlock Chicago.

Help a neighbor out: Best place in the city to launch a model rocket?

What’s going on in Boystown?

Beware of creatures: coyotes in Humboldt, mice in Jeff Park.

Helicopters. Helicopters. Helicopters. Helicopters.

Join the discussion: good grub in Logan Square.

Have a great weekend everyone!


The Weather Company and Emergency Alerts


Interesting piece from GovTech on The Weather Company and their new entry into the emergency alert business – allowing local emergency managers to utilize local, targeted information and publish that information quickly across multiple platforms.

The Weather Company, best known for The Weather Channel and, is getting into the emergency alert business — a natural fit given the company’s focus and market saturation.

Using its large-scale distribution and weather expertise, the company is, in partnership with local officials, building a localized alerting platform for state, local and private authorities to manage and distribute emergency alerts via The Weather Channel properties and existing local distribution points.

Read more:

Vote on Philly Bike Share Locations


Attention Philly EveryBlock users – through October 20th, you can vote on locations for the upcoming Bike Share at The map was made using OpenPlans Shareabouts and Textizen.


Popular in Chicago: Sept. 12th


Happy Friday! Here are some of the happening threads this week on EveryBlock Chicago.

Anyone in Portage Park missing a chicken?

Looking for a place to watch the NFL Sunday games? Find a good spot.

Neighbor discussion: unleashed dogs on the beach.

There’s an epic pothole in Northcenter.

Attn: blank walls, there’s an artist looking to give you some color.

Hope everyone has a great weekend!


EveryBlock at the WordPress Meetup


A few members of the EveryBlock team presented our hyperlocal publishing platform last night at the September Big Media & Enterprise WordPress Meetup in New York City. Thanks to everyone who came out!


How can libraries build more knowledgeable communities?


The Knight Foundation has a new challenge for ideas answering the question: How might we leverage libraries as a platform to build more knowledgeable communities? The challenge runs through September 30th and is open to anyone.

As libraries nationwide redefine their role in the digital age, the need for ideas that build on their potential to spark innovation and spread information is urgent. To answer this call, the Knight News Challenge on Libraries opens for applications today. Winners will receive a share of $2.5 million.

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Atlanta’s Infrastructure Map


Code for America has a new article up on a map that allows Atlanta residents to see how money is being spent to help improve their communities. The map allows users to click on their location, see what improvements are being made, and discuss those improvements with others.

It’s one thing to know that your city is spending hundreds of millions of dollars improving infrastructure. It’s another to know that they’re finally going to fix your broken sidewalk.

We’re working to bridge this gap in Atlanta using a new website we call, simply, Infrastructure Map.

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How Digital Are States in 2014?


Interesting survey from GovTech on how digital each U.S. state is – including the rise in popularity of Open Data.

Over the last two years, states have made real progress when it comes to using technology.

In the Center for Digital Government’s biennial Digital States Survey, which evaluates state governments’ ability to improve internal processes and better serve citizens with technology, three states received straight A grades and five others earned an A-minus. Thirty states received grades in the B range — up from 22 in 2012 — and 12 states received grades in the C range.

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