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Workshop: Develop a Data App using Raphael, D3, HTML and Backbone (Week 3)

  • Jan 28, 2013 · 6:30 PM

“Full House” workshop

Please join the Chicago Data Visualization Group's three-week, hands on seminar on practical data visualization skills this January, facilitated by David Eads, Sabine Ye, and friends (Pallavi Anderson and Sheila Miguez, as available).

1871, IMSA room
Monday Jan 14, 21, 28, 6:30p – 9:00pm

We'll focus on using Backbone JS to develop data-driven web applications, using the data provided by Full House, a web API which summarizes Cook County Jail population measurements over time.

We'll use Raphael JS, D3, and stupid HTML tricks. Mostly stupid HTML tricks. Our goal is to use our collective smarts to come up with interesting ways of presenting the underlying data, and to pick tools that will let us execute on our best ideas.

Participants should know basic HTML, CSS, and be able to use git. Some experience in a programming language would be useful, ideally but not limited to Javascript. Participants are asked to pledge to maintain a safe space according to the FreeGeek Chicago Code of Conduct.

As an experiment, we'll try to form small groups that continue projects outside of class and provide an opportunity to practice contributing to an open source project. People are busy, so there's no pressure to do this if it isn't feasible. Everyone who comes and contributes will get sweet street cred and go in the AUTHORS file for the project.

David Eads is a news applications developer for the Chicago Tribune and founder of FreeGeek Chicago.

Project statement

Cook County Jail is a crucial piece of Chicago's criminal justice infrastructure. The jail houses somewhere around 10,000 inmates a day awaiting trial or serving short sentences. The jail is costly to run and maintain, and it would be helpful to know about length of stay, jail demographics, common charges, housing patterns, and other characteristics of the jail's residents.

Unfortunately, there are no recent, regularly updated summaries of jail population statistics or trends, much less in a web-friendly data format. It's up to citizens to help the county know what's going on in Cook County Jail.

The Supreme Chi-town Coding Crew in collaboration with Open City Apps is organizing an open source project to better understand the Cook County Jail population. How long do inmates stay? When and where do they go to court? How are they housed? How do bond amounts line up with charges? What are the demographics of the population? What is the distribution of crimes and charges?

Learn more at

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