Illinois Open Technology Challenge

The Illinois Open Technology Challenge brings governments, developers, and communities together in a common mission to use public data to create digital tools that will serve today’s civic needs and promote economic development.

In 2012, the Illinois Open Technology Challenge (ILOpenTech) will launch with a pilot communities program that aims to make Illinois’ open data platform, Data.Illinois.Gov, available statewide. The Illinois Science & Technology Coalition is working with the Smart Chicago Collaborative and the State of Illinois to provide these communities with the tools to publish data, reward entrepreneurs and developers who create new technology and bring it to the public, and bring community organizations together to understand how to use that technology.

Open Data­

Governments and other institutions collect information and data on numerous topics. While this information is available, it is often a challenge to find it and the formatting is frequently inconsistent, inhibiting the ease with which the public can review and analyze the information. The philosophy behind open data has been long established, but the term “open data” itself is recent, gaining popularity with the launch of open-data government initiatives such as


Data.Illinois.Gov is an online repository for information collected and maintained by the State of Illinois. The leadership of Illinois Governor Pat Quinn and the Illinois Innovation Council has been instrumental in making Illinois a leader in open data. In 2012 the platform will expand to four pilot communities: Belleville, Champaign, Rockford, and Chicago’s South Suburban area. The user-friendly interface describes what data is available, how it can be accessed, and different tools for making use of it. The site encourages public participation in government by empowering Illinois’ innovators to use government data in new and creative ways. In fall of 2012, the Illinois Science & Technology Coalition will work with the State of Illinois to train government technology managers in the pilot communities on how to clean, format and upload data to the site. That site, along with others such as and the South Suburban Atlas, will provide the data that developers will use as the basis for creating new technologies to meet civic needs.

Pilot Communities


BellevilleBelleville (French: Belle ville, meaning “Beautiful city”) is a city in St. Clair County, Illinois, United States, co-extensive with Belleville Township. As of the 2010 census, the city has a population of 44,478. It is the eighth-most populated city outside of the Chicago Metropolitan Area and the most populated city south of Springfield in the state of Illinois. It is the county seat of St. Clair County.


ChampaignChampaign is a city in Champaign County, home to about 80,000 people, making it the 11th most populous city in Illinois. Though surrounded by farm communities, Champaign is notable for sharing the campus of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with its sister city Urbana. Thanks to the university and a number of well-known technology startups, it is often referred to as the hub of the Silicon Prairie. Champaign is also the home of Parkland College and the offices for several Fortune 500 companies.

Champaign’s Mayor Don Girard and City Council are firm advocates for open government.  The Council has adopted as a primary goal that   “Our City is committed to Honest, Transparent Government.” Four strategic initiatives to address this goal are:

  • Engage the Community in City Government
  • Provide timely and accurate information about City services
  • Openly share information about City actions and decisions
  • Improve public access to City information

Mayor Gerard and the Council believe that the Illinois Open Technology Challenge provides a great opportunity to pursue all four strategic initiatives.  We are particularly excited to engage the intellectual resources available within the student community and entrepreneurial individuals that have chosen Champaign as the place to build a better future.



Located in Winnebago County in northern Illinois, Rockford is home to approximately 150,000 residents.  Rockford was first settled in the 1830s and was chartered as a city in 1852.

Rockford is a regional hub for logistics, healthcare, and manufacturing, particularly in the automotive and aerospace industries.  Rockford’s regional airport is a top 25 U.S. cargo airport that contributes over a billion dollars in economic impact annually to the Illinois.

Mayor Larry Morrissey has been a strong advocate for transparent government through the open dissemination and analysis of data since taking office in 2005.  Morrissey established an innovative program called RockStat,  a monthly public meeting dedicated to critically analyzing delivery of public services to produce a stronger, accountable, and more efficient local government. Mayor Morrissey and the Rockford City Council are pleased to be a pilot community in ILOpenTech, and applaud Governor Quinn’s effort to provide yet another channel for the State of Illinois, the City of Rockford and other municipal partners to provide information to our constituents in an open and standard format.

Rockford is excited about the opportunities that the project can provide to create compelling data-rich applications for citizens to utilize to improve our communities and our state.

South Suburban Mayors and Managers Association

SSMMAThe South Suburban Mayors and Managers Assocation (SSMMA) is an intergovernmental agency located south of the City of Chicago. Since 1978, SSMMA has provided technical assistance and joint services to 42 municipalities representing a population of over 682,000 in southern Cook and  eastern Will Counties, as reported by the 2010 U.S Census. Executive Director, Edward Paesel, along with the Executive Board and its members, continue to work cooperatively on transportation, legislation, land use, economic development, recycling, purchasing, stormwater and open space planning, infrastructure, human resources, public safety and housing issues.

By being involved with ILOpenTech, SSMMA hopes to see the creation of innovative applications that will interpret the data to help municipalities across the region. The SSMMA has already uploaded over four hundred datasets to their South Suburban Atlas GIS consortium, and would like to see  that data used to create interactive application that would help to rank and organize available land sites for developers and businesses looking to build in the area.