Chicago City Data Users Group: Water Water Everywhere…And water data too!

| Adam J. Hecktman

Like data, water is everywhere, even in places you may not expect it, nor want it.  But, as the old saying goes, you can’t live without it.  New weather patterns and the dynamics of climate change are creating a strange time in the nation with respect to water.  While many parts of the country suffer from drought, Chicago’s main source of fresh water is at its highest level in years.  In fact, one of the impacts of climate change is that storms are becoming more intense, short in duration, and localized in impact.  This challenges our old models and notions of water movement, handling, treatment, and flooding.

On the positive side, new ways of capturing, analyzing, and visualization that data are also influencing how an urban environment handles a changing water dynamic.  New sensing technology, more sophisticated data models, and engaging visualizations are changing the way we think about, talk about, and make decisions on our most critical of natural resources.   On Wednesday, October 7th, the Chicago City Data Users Group will host some experts who are doing fascinating work in the water data space.  We will be joined by:

  • Seth Snyder, the leader of a new water initiative at Argonne National Laboratory. Seth built a regional team to address the spectrum of water issues in fresh water systems including, water allocation, data, modeling, and analysis, sensors and detectors, treatment, reuse, efficiency, and tech-to-market.
  • Scott Beslow, software engineer at NORC ( and developer of several civic tech sites dedicated to water, including and, two Open Source, Open Data projects monitoring the health of Chicago’s river and beaches.
  • David Leopold, Director of Project Management at UI LABS, currently leading the Smart Green Infrastructure Management project, one of the first coming out of City Digital.  The project uses an integration of sensors and green building techniques to build operational tools for the optimization of city drainage infrastructure
  • Barrett Murphy is the First Deputy Commissioner for the Department of Water Management at City of Chicago, and who has developed new models to inform the city’s understanding of water.

Each of these speakers looks at water through different lenses.  It will be fascinating to hear from each of them how data has informed their work and point of view.  Please join us and RSVP here.

Tags: , , , , , ,

Adam J. Hecktman

You may recognize Adam. He’s a regular on TV, you can hear him on the radio, he’s penned numerous articles and is the co-founder of the Chicago City Data Users Group. But some of Adam’s most important work is done behind the scenes in his role as Microsoft’s Director of Technology and Civic Engagement for Chicago. Tech giants, universities and government leaders turn to Adam for guidance on all matters technology, and he happily obliges, helping Chicago overcome challenges and capitalizing on new, exciting opportunities.