Civic Tech in Chicago — January 2018’s Top Events

Jan 3, 2018   |   MSFT Chicago Staff

Happy new year!

We’re ready to kick off 2018 with some of the best events surrounding technology and civic good you can find in Chicago. Join us at these top picks this month:

January 3

Virtual Reality / Augment Reality
6pm—8pm
FinTank 333 South Wabash Avenue, #Suite 2700, Chicago

VRAR Chicago is about connecting people with technology. Each month we present a mixed panel of experts who are currently working directly with Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality Technology, including Technologists, Business Analysts, Visionaries, Content Creators, Investors, and more. We make the panel available to anyone who wants to attend, with a particular focus on business and community leaders and investors in Chicago who are interested in learning how to make practical use of Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality technology. The group at each meetup directs the discussion, and it begins and ends with networking and hands-on technology demonstrations so that everyone can gain practical experience with the technologies.

Chicago City Data Users Group: Using OpenStreetMap with Steven Vance
6pm—7:30pm
The Microsoft Technology Center Chicago Aon Center – 200 E. Randolph Ste 200, Chicago

OpenStreetMap is the Wikipedia of maps. It has high quality information for every country in the world, contributed by locals who know the areas where they live, and from official data. There are many ways to easily display or embed OpenStreetMap maps in websites or reports. Like Wikipedia, the data is free to use without restriction. The hard part is extracting that data for use in offline programs, which you can use in custom mapping tools or in a spreadsheet. And that most extraction tools are made for experts. Join us with legendary transportation journalist and civic technologist Steven Vance. Steven will demonstrate how to use Overpass Turbo and QGIS to extract information about particular kinds of places in Chicago or Cook County, and convert them for use in spreadsheets.

January 4

Chicago Women Developers Hack Night
6pm—9pm
1871 222 W. Merchandise Mart Plaza, 12th Floor, Chicago

This weekly event gives ladies a space to code together. Whether you’re just getting started, or are a veteran in the tech world, there’s a seat for you at the table. BYOL: Bring your own laptop!

You don’t have to be working on any project or learning anything new to come to Hack Night, it’s a great space to just hang out with other women who code.

If you ARE looking to learn a certain language, let us know, and we’ll pair you up with a study buddy. More often than not there is another CWDevs member who is working to deepen her knowledge and understanding too, and would welcome a partner in learning.

January 8

Blockchain for Social Good: Exploring a Decentralized Autonomous Social Enterprise
6pm—9pm
The Microsoft Technology Center Chicago Aon Center – 200 E. Randolph Ste 200, Chicago

At this meeting of BSGC, we will consider the promises and challenges of a social impact blockchain project based right here in Chicago.

Urban Array is a Decentralized Autonomous Social Enterprise that uses decentralized technologies to give regular people the ability to organize, collaborate and rebuild communities. Their goal is to help communities and groups that government or the ‘market’ don’t adequately reach or serve, by allowing crowd-sourcing of work, resources, capital, rewards that allow people to have ownership within their communities.

At BSGC, Urban Array will present the philosophy behind their project and details of their proposed architecture. From there, we will have an open conversation about Urban Array’s governance model and its applications for socially transformative organization structures.

January 9, 16, 23, 30

Chi Hack Night
6-10pm
Braintree office 222 W. Merchandise Mart Plaza, 8th Floor, Chicago

The Chi Hack Night is a free, weekly event in Chicago to build, share and learn about civic tech and tools to create, support, or serve public good.

Join us every Tuesday from 6-9:30pm on the 8th floor of the Merchandise Mart to hear from interesting speakerslearn from each other and work on civic projects. Non-techies are very welcome!

January 17

Inspiring Investment in Chicago Neighborhoods
12pm—1:30pm
Ferguson Hall Columbia College 600 S. Michigan, Ave, Chicago

The Illinois Campaign for Political Reform is a non-partisan public interest group that conducts research and advocates reforms to promote public participation in government, address the role of money in politics and encourage integrity, accountability, and transparency in government.

January 18-26

Chicago Museum Week

Chicago Museum Week is back! The city’s museum scene is going to heat up an otherwise cold and dreary time of the year. That’s right, from January 18-26, Illinois residents will be treated to freebies, discounts, and special programs. Chicago Museum Week is actually a nine-day long celebration, though as noted below, some of the sites are backing off a bit during the MLK weekend. Here are the specials at our favorite Chicago Museums.

January 25

Women In FinTech
6pm—8pm
FinTank 333 South Wabash Avenue Suite 2700, Chicago

The New Year brings a new opportunity here at FinTank. Join us as we launch the latest iteration of empowerment and inclusiveness in the field of financial technology.

Meet our Lead: Kimberly Wolfson! Kimberly helps businesses cultivate, acquire, and grow loyal customers by proactively uncovering business goals, delivering valuable data insights, and providing marketing and technology solutions to improve and grow. Her accomplishments span from increasing organization valuations to exponential product and service sales increase. To put it simply, Kim gets things done.

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