Tech for good: Register for Open Data Day

Do you want to learn how publicly available data can be used for the public good, facilitating progress on the issues you care about the most? If so, register online for NIU’s second Open Data Day, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, March 4, in the Campus Life Building at 545 Lucinda Ave.

The event, hosted by NIU STEAM Works, is open to NIU students, regional middle and high school students, and community members interested in addressing social justice issues through technology and open data. No experience with technology is required. Data scientists, designers, web developers and computer coders are all welcome and will play vital roles, but the most important qualification is a desire to make a difference.

Online registration is available at bit.ly/2kEstv6.

“There’s so much useful open data waiting to be put to use,” organizer Tracy Rogers-Tryba said. 

“There’s data out there on health, crime, infrastructure, economic development––almost anything you can imagine. But too often it’s sitting on spreadsheets that are hard for people to use. The point of Open Data Day is to bring it out into the open. Data can be turned into maps, charts, websites and apps that give citizens important info and help them thrive.” 

Attendees will break into groups depending on their interests and skill sets, then brainstorm and collaborate on projects to implement. One project from last year’s Open Data Day has since become a website, EatLocalDeKalb.org, which helps connect consumers to producers of locally grown food.

“Open Data Day is a great way to learn about new tools for change, pick up problem-solving skills and network with people from different sectors and professions who have similar civic interests,” Rogers-Tryba said. “People who showed up last year left feeling excited, and we’re expecting to see a lot of them back on March 4.”

Participants should bring their own computers.

Free parking will be available in the parking deck and in the lot behind the Campus Life Building.

Lunch will not be provided, so attendees should pack a lunch or snack to keep them fueled throughout the event.

For more information, contact Tracy Rogers-Tryba at tlrogers@niu.edu or 815-753-2090.

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