Apps for Metro Chicago IL Press Release



First-of-its-kind competition using data from multiple governments
to make applications that improve lives of millions of residents


Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Governor Pat Quinn and Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle announced today the launch of Apps for Metro Chicago Illinois, an application development competition. The competition, which will take place over the next six months, will continue the historic open data efforts taking place in Chicago, the Chicago metro area, and throughout Illinois.


 “This competition will allow individuals to interact directly with their government and make a large difference in the way we live in Chicago,” said Mayor Emanuel. “Data belongs to the people, and there is an enormous desire on the part of residents to participate in government and find ways to contribute. This competition will allow them to create innovative solutions and experiment with applications that can make all of our lives better.”


The competition will allow developers to create applications using nearly 200 data sets that have been made available, in hopes of creating thousands of new applications that will make profound impacts on the way residents enjoy their lives.


The competition – available at – is the first apps competition in the nation to combine data sets from multiple governmental agencies and regional planning organizations. The City of Chicago has contributed 125 data sets, the State of Illinois has contributed 48 and Cook County has contributed 10. Each governmental organization will be adding data sets as the contest goes along, a reflection of their previously announced commitments to open data. Additionally, the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning’s MetroPulse data portal is available for use by app developers.


“Giving people access to the data that their elected officials use every day has the potential to improve the long-term effectiveness of governments throughout our state and nation,” said Governor Quinn. “This competition will give our best and brightest an opportunity to find creative solutions that will benefit people throughout Illinois.”


The competition features over $50,000 in prizes from the MacArthur Foundation and The Chicago Community Trust and is being supported by the Illinois Science and Technology Coalition, and other organizations. A specific prize is being awarded for apps that make creative use of State of Illinois data sets as part of their solutions for the metropolitan area.


"We are excited to be part of this unprecedented collaboration,” said Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle. “When I was sworn into office in December, I said that this is the time to open Cook County government to its citizens, to make County government work for its residents. This competition puts information in the hands of people who can help government operate more transparently and efficiently and make our communities a better place to live."


The competition will feature several other unique elements, including a technical assistance program that will help app-makers design apps that have immediate and long-term relevance, and an exchange on which developers can find new ideas for apps that are shared by non-developers.