Projects and successes

Chi Hack Night is a community focused on learning by doing. Many amazing projects have been conceived, built and launched at Chi Hack Night. Here are some of our most prominent and successful ones.

Ghost Buses
Launched: November 2022
Tags: Transit
Team: Alejandro Morales, Amy Corson, Danish M, Dylan Johnson, Howard Kier, JR Rubin, Katie O’Shea, Kyle Dolezal, Laurie Merrell, Rona Hsu, Satoru, Sean MacMullan, Sneha Jalukar, Vien Nguyen, And others, including outside contributors on GitHub

A ‘ghost bus’ is when a bus tracker app claims that a bus is coming but it never shows up. If you live in Chicago and regularly take public transit, you may have been ‘ghosted’ by a bus! This project compares real-time data (data that indicates which bus trips actually happened) with schedule data (the trips that the CTA said in advance would happen).

Decarb My State
Launched: July 2022
Tags: Climate change
Team: Derek Eder, Juan-Pablo Velez, Viktor Köves, Sean Watland, Howard Kier, Dylan Halpern, Elisa Rudolph, Joyce Ohiri, Samantha Goodman, Shelby Barron, Jack Madans, Surag Nuthulapaty, Robert Herrera

Decarb My State brings together emissions and electrification data for all 50 states + DC and organizes it based on the biggest sources of climate pollution: the machines we use to heat our homes, cook our food, get us places, and produce our power.

Quantify Justice News
Launched: May 2018
Tags: Issue advocacy
Team: Tracy Siska, Kevin Rose, Matt Meshulam, Josh Herzberg, Michael Chladek, Matt E. Sweeney

The Justice Media Project collects media reporting in Chicago on crime, violence and justice issues through scraping of the websites of the Chicago media. The team used algorithms to categorize the type of crime covered in each news article as well as extract geo-location data and tag each article with a location.

Launched: June 2016
Tags: Community, Digital Equity, Worker Cooperative, Stakeholders, Mesh Networks, Asset-based Community Development
Team: Alvyn Walker, Barry Feldman, Dave Alverado, Elvenord Vertus, Felipe Mitchell, Graham Livingston, Jonathon Rogoff, Nurul Eusufzai, Ryan Shipp

ChiCommons Cooperative is a multi-stakeholder organization that grew out of ChiHackNight and Sustainability volunteer movements for common good. We are a worker-owned cooperative that runs community projects to increase economic solidarity and digital equity. We offer opportunities to get involved as a skills volunteer or co-owner.

Predicting E. Coli levels in Chicago beaches
Launched: May 2016
Tags: Predictive modeling, City partnership
Team: Tom Schenk, Kevin Rose, Rebecca Jones, Matt Sweeney, Chris Prokop, Melissa McNeill, And many more

Chicago has three-dozen beaches that, sometimes, have high E. Coli levels. When do we need to warn the 9 million annual visitors of potentially high E. Coli levels? In 2016, members of Chi Hack Night built an improved statistical model to predict the E. coli levels at Chicago’s beaches.

Illinois Budget Clock
Launched: January 2016
Tags: Issue advocacy
Team: Cathy Deng, Kristi Leach, Hunter Owens, Derek Eder, Matt Johnson, Rene Marcelo, Melanie Kruvelis, David Bild, Diana Hansen, Sarah Brune, Nate Hutcheson, Claire Micklin

Illinois Budget Clock aggregates stories of the impact of the 2016 Illinois state budget impasse in order to impose a greater sense of urgency and pressure Illinois politicians to act.

Launched: September 2015
Tags: Social services, Text messaging, Non-profit
Team: Rose Afriyie, Genevieve Nielson

mRelief is a non-for-profit organization that has built an easy-to-use platform on web and text messaging for low-income Americans to find out if they qualify for the most important social services such as food stamps.

Slow Roll Chicago - Bike Equity Project
Launched: June 2015
Tags: Issue advocacy, Mapping
Team: Olatunji Oboi Reed, Steven Vance, Many others

Visualization and analysis of Chicago bike lanes. An effort to show the distribution of bike infrastructure investments in Chicago, while at the same time showing how those were related to socioeconomic and health indicators.

Petcoke Alerts
Launched: May 2015
Tags: Issue advocacy, Text messaging
Team: Olga Bautista, Ben Wilhelm, The South Side Coalition to Ban Petcoke, Justin Manley, Jason Wang, Stephen Liu, Rene Paccha

A text message alert system to inform residents around KCBX Terminals in Chicago’s 10th Ward that windspeed is high, and that they are therefore at increased risk of exposure to petroleum coke (‘petcoke’).

My Building Doesn't Recycle
Launched: January 2015
Tags: Issue advocacy, Mapping
Team: Claire Micklin, Ben Wilhelm, Alex Kahn

My Building Doesn’t Recycle is a app that allows Chicago residents of high-density (5 or more residential units) apartment buildings to report that their building management is not providing recycling services. The goal of the app was to get the city to strengthen and enforce the existing recycling law, which it succeeded in doing.

Is There Sewage in the Chicago River
Launched: December 2013
Tags: Issue advocacy, Mapping
Team: Derek Eder, Forest Gregg, Eric van Zanten, Scott Beslow

Whenever Chicago gets a lot of rain or there’s a significant snowmelt, the Chicagoland water management agencies must dump excess wastewater into the lake and river in order to prevent flooding. Is There Sewage In The Chicago River? Notifies you whenever these combined sewer overflows happen to raise awareness around our impact on the environment and those downstream of us.