Local data just a click away as CU Wiki’s popularity grows

The homepage of the Champaign-Urbana Wiki, a community-based resource that anyone can add to, edit, and share.Round barn photo courtesy of Kalev Leetaru​
The homepage of the Champaign-Urbana Wiki, a community-based resource that anyone can add to, edit, and share.


Technology and data in Champaign-Urbana have received a big boost lately.

The locally-launched CU Wiki (http://home/citizenaccess/public_html.cuwiki.net/) now nears 120 users (as of Dec. 10) and more than 1,300 pages.

Driven by the Graduate School of Library and Information Science at the University of Illinois over the past year, CU Wiki offers a user-generated directory of Who’s Who in the area as well as a plethora of pages on events, things-to-do and places to go.

Students from the library school’s Community Informatics classes spent the fall working on outreach and content building.

The local wiki offers resources not found elsewhere, such as a directory of all the public computing sites and classes around town.

For example, you can get free Wi-Fi at “The Whip” barbershop on Fourth Street or use its public computer.

Anyone can sign up and edit and the site needs more users.

Visit http://home/citizenaccess/public_html.cuwiki.net/About_CU_Wiki to learn more.

Additionally, a new initiative – the Illinois Open Technology Challenge – aims to bring together governments, developers and communities in new ways using public data and digital tools.

The data – uploaded by participating governments – is available at data.illinois.gov.

At the very least, this site offers up interesting data sets, such as violent crime statistics or all the trees owned by the City of Champaign.  You can search any of the data sets, download what you find and use it to your heart’s content.

What’s more, a competition to use this data is now underway, with the official application coming in January. There is at least $75,000 in prize money offered to a team or individual who can develop innovative software applications that use the data.

Last week, CU-CitizenAccess attended a technology meet-up to explore the opportunity and meet other like-minded data geeks.

In all, 33 people showed up to explore the data and get inspired by the challenge.

Another meeting is planned next month. Want to get involved? Visit www.meetup.com/Illinois-Open-Technology

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