Data Science

We treat data as a strategic asset for the City of Chicago. We store, analyze, research, visualize, publish, and liberate data for city users and the public. Our mission is to use data to improve the quality of life of residents in the city and improve the efficiency of city operations.

The data science team is divided into four units:

  • Advanced analytics
  • Open data
  • Business intelligence
  • Data management

Each unit works together to seamlessly deliver a flow of information from databases to the city portal and internal reports. Often, the advanced analytics unit uses statistical techniques to uncover relationships and generate predictions to improve city operations.

Advanced Analytics

The advanced analytics unit is responsible to apply statistical techniques to uncover hidden correlations between events and activities in the city. Often, data is used to create forecasts or projections on events in the city so operational departments can proactively resolve issues. The team also engages in techniques to optimize city responses and evaluating the effectiveness of analytic models.

The team is also responsible for creating a SmartData platform to drive large-scale analytics by the city.

Open Data

The open data unit is responsible for releasing information to the public in an accessible, machine-readable format. The team manages the City of Chicago data portal, which contains almost 500 datasets ranging from crimes to energy consumption. The team also manages the city’s data dictionary, a directory of databases kept in the city with detailed information on data stored within those systems.

The Open Data unit also publishes the annual open data report in accordance with Chicago’s Open Data Executive Order signed by Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

Business Intelligence

The business intelligence unit is responsible for providing an easy-to-use interface between city employees and data. The team’s mission is to enable city employees to access, use, and discover information that can be used for strategic management and daily operations. The business intelligence unit’s goal is to create a suite of business intelligence tools to connect city employees to data.

Data Management

The data management unit is comprised of database administrators who maintain the city’s databases. This team is responsible for the integrity of the city’s data systems, enabling a smooth operation of city applications and maintaining the safety of the data in SQL and NoSQL databases. The team also deploys small, lightweight applications designed to encourage storing information on city servers instead on desktop files.

Other units in the Data Science team rely on the Data Management unit to be the source of published information, reports, and sophisticated statistics.

Key Initiatives

Our team is engaged in several key activities that are linked to the team’s mission and the City of Chicago tech plan:

  • Consolidate the city’s databases into a fast, high-available database platform for the City of Chicago.
  • Provide options for enterprise data management in lieu of local data storage.
  • Continue to increase and improve the information published on the city’s data portal and data dictionary.
  • Create a suite of business intelligence tools to connect city users to data that can help daily operations.
  • Use statistical techniques to discover relationships and predictions to improve city efficiency.
  • Create a “SmartData Platform” as part of the city’s IT infrastructure to serve the city’s advanced analytic needs.


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