Derek Eder

Civic Tech Builder

Talks Public appearances and presentations

I've give talks on my experiences starting a civic tech company, DataMade, building civic apps with Open City, and organizing the Chi Hack Night. If you'd like to book me for a speaking event, shoot me an email.

Internet Cookies May Boost Online Experience But Raise Privacy Concerns
May 4th, 2021
WTTW Chicago Tonight

In my eighth appearance on WTTW Chicago Tonight, I talk again with Dr. Blase Ur and host Brandis Friedman about cookies and tracking from online advertisers. Bonus: you can definitely hear Ruby barking in the background. Her TV debut!

Intro to being anti-racist in civic tech
April 13th, 2021
Chi Hack Night

What does it mean to be anti-racist? What is white supremacy culture and how does it show up? Over the past months, Chi Hack Night’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) committee has discussed and researched these questions. I am joined by fellow Chi Hack Night Board Members Ryan Spencer and Samantha Evans to share what we learned in our recent blog post so that we can all work to make our communities more equitable and just.

Tech Giants’ Plan to Track COVID-19 Raises Privacy Concerns
April 23rd, 2020
WTTW Chicago Tonight

In my seventh appearance on WTTW Chicago Tonight, I talk with Dr. Blase Ur and host Brandis Friedman about Google and Apple's plan to use smartphones for contact tracing to track the spread of COVID-19.

FaceApp Raises Broader Privacy Concerns. Here’s What You Need to Know.
July 22nd, 2019
WTTW Chicago Tonight

In my sixth appearance on WTTW Chicago Tonight, I talk with host Phil Ponce about the data privacy concerns with FaceApp, Facebook & many other apps on your phone.

The opportunity of civic tech
August 21st, 2018
Chi Hack Night

It is said that Chicago has one of the strongest and most vibrant civic technology communities in the world, but what even is civic tech? What are the opportunities in the civic tech space and what has changed over the past few years that make these opportunities possible? As Founder of Chi Hack Night and DataMade, I answer these questions (and more!).

Using Chicago’s Data for Good: Chi Hack Night Celebrates 300 Events (video)
May 16th, 2018
WTTW Chicago Tonight

On May 16, 2018 WTTW Chicago Tonight featured Chi Hack Night on their program. The segment covered our 300th event and included interviews with a cross-section of Chicago's civic technology community.

Russians Hacking Routers in the US and UK, Officials Warn (video)
April 23rd, 2018
WTTW Chicago Tonight

In my fifth appearance on WTTW Chicago Tonight, I lend my technical expertise in a discussion with host Paris Schutz and Mike Petitti, vice president of cyber security solutions at Uptake, on the Russian targeting of routers and other internet connected devices.

If Atlanta Got Crippled by a Cyberattack, How Safe Are You? (video)
April 2nd, 2018
WTTW Chicago Tonight

I'm becoming a WTTW Chicago Tonight regular! In my fourth appearance on the show, I lend my technical expertise in a discussion with host Eddie Arruza on the ransomware cyberattack on the City of Atlanta in March 2018 and how individuals can take steps to protect their own data and accounts.

Social Media Scams: Public Figures Under Fire for Buying Fake Followers (video)
January 31st, 2018
WTTW Chicago Tonight

WTTW Chicago Tonight segment with host Phil Ponce and University of Chicago computer science professor Ben Zhao on the phenomenon of people buying fake followers on social media and the impact on society.

How Chicago ‘Hacktivist’ Derek Eder Uses Public Data for Good (video)
September 19th, 2017
WTTW Chicago Tonight

WTTW Chicago Tonight interview I did with Phil Ponce on Chi Hack Night, DataMade, and the work done by the Chicago civic technology community in the last 5 years. We discussed some more recent projects including Chicagos Million Dollar Blocks and Justice Divided.

Lightning Talk: March 22nd, 2012, The First Hack Night (video)
July 19th, 2016
Chi Hack Night

On July 19th, 2016, Chi Hack Night hosted our second round of lightning talks from members of our community. Here, I give a brief history of how the very first hack night was started in Chicago.

The Ethics of Open Data
November 19th, 2015
Social Media Week: Chicago

I participated in a panel discussion with Mike Fourcher, founder of Aldertrack, and Sun-Times reporter Dan Mihalopolous about the ethics in using open data.

Data Friday: Chicago's Million Dollar Blocks
November 13th, 2015
LISC Chicago: Data Fridays

I presented with Dan Cooper, co-executive director of the Institute of Social Exclusion at Adler University, on Chicago’s Million Dollar Blocks, a project that looks atthe impact of incarceration at the city block level. I shared the process of transforming data and text into an interactive story on the web and Dan explored the research and policy implications.

Open Data: Transforming Government Transparency
November 4th, 2015
Illinois Campaign for Political Reform

I spoke with Kyla Williams, Tom Schenk Jr, Christopher Whitaker, Sally Duros and Adam Hecktman on the state of open data in Chicago, Cook County and Illinois. See the full recap here.

Stimulating Community Awareness By Collaborating With Your Developer Community
October 27th, 2015
2015 Socrata Customer Summit

At the 2015 Socrata Customer Summit, I spoke about my experiences organizing the Chi Hack Night, as well as opening up Illinois campaign finance data and building Here are my slides, titled The Long and Winding Road: Opening Data from the Outside

Lessons from Organizing the Chi Hack Night (video)
October 1st, 2015
2015 Code for America Summit

Trying to grow civic hacking in your community? Learn how the Chi Hack Night went from four nerds sitting in a room to a weekly event with 80-100 talented volunteers working to create more just, equitable, transparent, and delightful cities through exciting applications of data and technology.

Greater Campaign Disclosure and the Illinois Sunshine Database
September 17th, 2015
Summit for Action & Civic Reform

I participated in a panel discussion with Scott Kennedy, Suzanne McBride, Kent Redfield, Eric van Zanten and Miriam Marks on campaign disclosure in Illinois. It was an especially exciting to be on the same panel as Kent, who is one of the leading experts on Illinois campaign disclosure. He actually wrote the book on it: Money Counts: How Dollars Dominate Illinois Politics and What We Can Do About It.

Illinois Sunshine Debut
August 4th, 2015

I helped debut the new Illinois Sunshine website, which DataMade built for the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform, at 1871.

Later that day, we demoed the website at the Chi Hack Night

How Hackers are Changing Government (video)
May 21st, 2015
Better Government Association

In an interview with the Better Government Association, I talk about the Chi Hack Night, DataMade and the work we are doing to improve our government and society. Read the full article.

Data Driven Advocacy
April 30th, 2015
Do Good Data 2015

Forest Gregg and I of DataMade highlighed how we, and members of the open gov community in Chicago are using data to make convincing public arguments for policy changes.

We went over real-world examples and give a ‘soup to nuts’ overview of how each was made and the impact that followed:

See our presentation slides.

Tech Shift: Cybersecurity, Illinois’ innovation council and Facebook (audio)
February 13rd, 2015
WBEZ Afternoon Shift

On WBEZ's Tech Shift week in review, I talked about President Obama’s new executive orders on cybersecurity, Gov. Rauner’s announcement about a new innovation council, using open data to keep those in power accountable when it comes to snow plowing and Facebook’s new way to manage user accounts after they’ve passed away. Also on the panel: Jill Salzman of The Founding Moms blog.

Are streets actually plowed? (audio)
February 3rd, 2015
WBEZ Afternoon Shift

I talk about, a website that tracks where Chicago snow plows have been, how and why we built it, and using open data to investigate how the City responds to snow events.

A few hours after this interview, the Chicago Sun-Times published this story, which I helped investigate: The snowplows hit Ald. Burke's street — five times.

How to Ignite Your Local Open Data Ecosystem (video)
October 23rd, 2014
Socrata Customer Summit

Chicago has one of the most successful and vibrant open data communities. Straight from the front lines, Derek Eder shares what’s worked to build Chicago’s ecosystem, and the secret sauce that keeps it innovating and growing.

When Technology and Policy Work Together: Large Lots in Chicago (video)
September 23rd, 2014
Code for America Summit

Demond Drummer and I share the story of how community organizers, technologists, and the City of Chicago collaborated to roll out a new program to give local residents ownership of vacant land in their neighborhood and incentivize neighborhood-level investment.

Open Data with DataMade
August 8th, 2014
Chicago Computation Group

I gave a presentation to the Chicago Computation Group, a meetup of interdisciplinary design professionals practicing architecture, structural and mechanical engineering, environmental designers, and researchers from various fields advancing design thinking through the use of advanced computation.

I talked about the history of open government in Chicago, current landscape of our maturing civic tech community, the role of "Big Data" on public policy and the tools we must create to delineate this data. An interesting discussion of the bias of data or its visualizations led to an even more interesting discussion about the role of the designer within public policy.

New site warehouses campaign finance data (audio)
August 4th, 2014
WBEZ Afternoon Shift

As of today the mid-term elections are only three months away. Between now and November 4th, campaigns will be frantically raising and spending as much money as they can. While candidates do need to disclose their spending this information isn't that easy to find, and it can be even harder to analyze. Well, that process got a little easier last week with the launch of

The site collects information on candidates, contributions, spending and more, and makes it free to download. It’s intended for people who are serious about finding out information about campaign finance, especially journalists, researchers and analysts.

Joining us to talk about the site are two of its creators, Derek Eder, owner of civic data company DataMade, and David Melton, Executive Director of the nonpartisan Illinois Campaign for Political Reform.

Solving Civic Problems One App at a Time (audio)
July 29th, 2014
The Mike Nowak Show on WCPT Radio

Derek Eder is co-founder of Open City, a collective that makes civic apps with open data. Through Open City's Open Gov Hack Night and on his own, Eder is tackling social and environmental issues like urban flooding, recycling, zoning, crime, vacant and abandoned buildings in Chicago and more by creating a new paradigm for civic engagement.

Interview on Open Government Hack Night (video)
May 27th, 2014
City of Chicago TV

I did an interview with City of Chicago TV about the Open Gov Hack Night, how it started, why it works and what's in store for the future.

Chicago River Sewage (audio)
May 20th, 2014
WBEZ Afternoon Shift

This weekend, the Chicago area saw thunderstorms and nearly two inches of rain bringing flooding, power outages and the release of sewage into the Chicago River. It’s no secret that the city releases untreated waste and storm-water into the river, but now it’s easier to find out where and when its happening. One site looking into this is appropriately called Co-founder of civic hacking group Open City and one of the site's creators, Derek Eder, joins us with more.

Open Government / Civic Innovation community in Chicago
Apr 5th, 2014
Flourish! 2014

Join Derek Eder as he discusses how an Open Government has led to many innoations in the Chicago Civic App community. Also there will be a live showcasing of many open source civic apps built for and by Chicagoans. These include, but are not limited to Chicago Lobbyists, 2nd City Zoning and Councilmatic.

Presentation slides: Open Government in Chicago

The State of Open Data
Mar 14th, 2014
FOIA Fest, Chicago Headline Club

There is more public information available online than ever before and there is an effort toward standardizing certain data sets and make them useful by the public. Derek Eder, co-founder of DataMade and the Open Gov Hack Night , Joe Germuska, chief nerd of the Knight Lab at Northwestern and Paul Wright is the Director of Local Media Development for Comcast/NBCUniversal, which includes managing EveryBlock, will discuss advancements.

Tech Shift: Open data and government websites (audio)
Feb 27th, 2014
WBEZ Afternoon Shift

The public struggles of have brought unusual attention to the process of how governments choose the companies who provide their technology. Is IT so specialized that the government needs to contract IT companies for their projects? Derek Eder, owner of DataMade, an open data web development consulting company in Chicago, joins us in studio. He's experienced firsthand the difficulty of working through the city's procurement process. Plus, Dan O'Neil, the executive director at Smart Chicago Collaborative and an organizer of the OpenGovChicago meetup, also joins us.

Open Government in Chicago
Jan 23rd, 2014
Cloud Camp Chicago

At Cloud Camp's Industry Night, I tell Chicago's story of open government, open data and civic tech innovation.

Engaging with citizens on budgeting and performance
Nov 7th, 2013
Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development

I was invited by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) to give a talk in Berlin to the Senior Budget Officials network on performance and results at the Bundesminister der Finanzen. I covered new ways and tools of visualizing budgets to the public in easy-to-access and easy-to-understand formats.

Presentation slides: Visualizing Budgets

Tools for open source web development
Oct 25th, 2013
School of the Art Institute of Chicago - GFRY Studio

I dropped by the GFRY Studio at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago to talk about open source web development and how policy decisions get made around building usage.

Searchable Maps with Google Fusion Tables
Aug 23th, 2013
Do Good Data 2013

Workshop on the uses of Fusion Tables and Google Maps in the context of non-profits and social science analyists and researchers.

GitHub 101 (video)
June 11th, 2013
Open Government Hack Night

A beginner's introduction to Git and Github. Learn how to keep your code backed up with version control and collaborate on open source projects.

Digging for Data to Bolster Your Story
June 4th, 2013
Community Media Workshop

Do you use data and statistics to show the impact your organization makes in our community? Finding and using data to narrate your organization’s story doesn’t have to be as overwhelming as it may seem. We’ll introduce you to methods that will help you collect useful documents and find meaning in your research. Then learn how Chicago journalists and data crunchers use data sets and public records to perform investigative journalism and how you can apply these same techniques in your own storytelling.

Mapping/Google Fusion Tables Boot Camp
May 31st, 2013
Chicago Migrahack

This workshop will focus on free tools used to create stories around data with geographic breakdowns. Mapping is one of the core elements of visual communication, information, and geographic information. It’s not about creating charts; it’s all about insights on your data.

Open Gov in Chicago: Changing Government from the Outside In (video)
May 23rd, 2013
Table XI - Data by Design

What's the OpenGov thing all about anyway? In my first ever Pecha Kucha-style talk, I make an attempt to summarize 7 years of Open Government history in 6 minutes and 20 seconds. See how it all started, who the key players are, and where we're going from here.

Open Government Talk with the Data Science Collaborative
April 24th, 2013
Big Data Week

The Data Science Collaborative, a multi-disciplinary group helping lead the way for data science innovation in Chicago, explores Chicago's open government and transparency initiatives through a wide range of perspectives — including the public, private, academic, and nonprofit sectors.

Derek Eder, Juan Pablo Velez, and OpenGov Hackers on Open Data and Civic-Minded Applications
April 1st, 2013
Chicago Policy Review

An interview with Juan-Pablo Velez, myself and other civic hackers by Julie Cooper of the Chicago Policy Review. We discuss the Open Gov Hack Night, open data, how data can change policy, and ways for anyone to get involved in using data to improve governance.

Socrata Open Data Field Guide Interview
Feb 1st, 2013
Socrata Open Data Field Guide

My extended interview by Socrata on open data, government technology, civic volunteerism and making a living as a civic developer.

Data 101: Mapping Visualizations and Using Google Fusion Tables: Skills for All Journalists
Nov 9th, 2012

The Society of Professional Journalists JournCamp is a daylong workshop of practical, skills-based professional development sessions for journalist. I led a session on how to get started with Google Fusion Tables and showed some examples of what's possible. Check out the presentation notes.

Creating Systemic Change "Designing With, Not For"
Nov 3rd, 2012
Northwestern MSLOC

The Master's in Learning and Organizational Challenge program at Northwestern hosts a quarterly meeting for their sudents and alums. For this event, we had a screening of Design & Thinking and a follow-up panel featuring myself, Jordan Bunker from Pumping Station One, designer Teresa Torres, and Jeanne Marie Olson from Northwestern.

Searchable Maps with Google Fusion Tables
Nov 2nd, 2012
National College Media Convention

At the 91st Annual ACP/CMA National College Media Convention held in Chicago, I led a jounalist workshop on the uses of Fusion Tables and Google Maps in the context of journalism projects.

Data Camp: Fusion Tables with Derek Eder
October 19, 2012
Data Camp 2012

Data Camp is a day-and-a-half crash course in online and open source data tools for beginners. I led off the first day by giving an overview of Google's Fusion Tables, it's features, and some of the projects I've built using it.

Introduction to D3: Data Driven Documents (video)
August 28, 2012
Data Potluck & Opengov Hack Night

A 20-minute talk on d3, a JavaScript library for easily manipulating elemnts on a webpage with a variety of data formats. Given at the Data Potluck / Opengov Hack Night at 1871. The video quality for this one isn't great, but you can follow along with my presentation notes.

Big Data Deduping (video)
June 14, 2012

Joint presentation at the ChiPy meetup with Forest Gregg on Dedupe, an open source Python library we have developed for deduplicating tabular data, quickly, accurately, and on a large scale. Follow along with our presentation slides.

Chicago Map Society: Mapping Open Data
May 17, 2012
Chicago Map Society

At this monthly meetup, I gave an overview of some of the open source mapping projects I've worked on with Open City and independently. Sorry, no video for this one, but my presentation notes are available.

Changing The Code: Government Data and Digital Entrepreneurship (video)
April 25, 2012
Cook County

A 60-minute webinar on how government data can offer new opportunities to digital entrepreneurs and startups. Also featuring former Cook County CIO Greg Wass, Cook County Director of Capital Planning John Cooke, Stephen Newell from IBM, Executive Director of the Smart Chicago Collaborative Daniel X. O'Neil, and SpotHero co-founder Jeremy Smith.

Chicago Data Apps Panel Discussion (video)
January 31, 2012
Chicago Tonight

A panel discussion on open data and apps built with them. Several of our Open City projects were discussed, namely Chicago Lobbyists, Look at Cook and ClearStreets. Hosted by Chicago Tonight's Phil Ponce, featuring Chicago CTO John Tolva, Chad W. Pry and me. • © 2021 Derek Eder