This is a project of the Smart Chicago Collaborative, a civic organization devoted to improving lives in Chicago through technology. We’ve worked with a whole host of partners inside and outside of government to pull together this simple interface to get your information directly to City of Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) so it can be of use to everyone.
Foodborne illness is a public health issue. If you are feeling sick and you think it’s from eating in a public place, it’s a good thing to alert others about the possible danger.
The CDPH Food Protection Division fielded 1859 complaints in 2013, leading to 174 restaurant investigations for suspected food poisoning per year. The CDC estimates, however, that approximately 45% of foodborne illness goes unreported. The average resident may be unaware that they can file a complaint, much less how to file a complaint.
The City of Chicago has a robust and simple complaint submission system-- the 311 system. Restaurant complaints are routed to the CDPH when food poisoning is suspected. When a resident makes a restaurant complaint, the City passes it on to the CDPH Food Protection Services follows up with the resident. If warranted, an inspection team is dispatched to the restaurant in question.
Once you complete this form, the City of Chicago takes it from there. We use the City’s Open311 system to directly submit your information. We do not maintain a copy of your complaint and have nothing to do with the status of the issue. We’re just some people using technology to help improve communication between Chicago residents and the government that serves them.
Foodborne has processed a number of tweets and submissions since March 23rd, 2013. We would like to share a few of those numbers with you.
Total Tweets Machine Classified: 3701
These are the total number of "food poison" tweets that FoodBorne Chicago application has classified.
Total Tweets Replied To: 445
These are the total number of machine classified tweets that the human classifier has @replied to on Twitter.
Total Reports Submitted: 1995
These are the total number of reports submitted through FoodBorne Chicago.
This project has many contributors doing a myriad of positive things that fit together into this people-focused timeline:
John Tolva, Chief Technology Officer, City of Chicago, and Daniel X. O’Neil, Executive Director of Smart Chicago Collaborative, for bringing Code for America to Chicago to do a project centered on Open 311
Brett Goldstein, Chief Data Officer, and Chief Information Officer, City of Chicago, for starting the Twitter Classification Group and fostering a culture of analytics in the developer community.
Brett Goldstein's team at Chicago Department of Innovation and Technology, including Danielle DuMerer, who was instrumental in getting the Code for America Open311 project done, as well as IT Director Carleton Nolan, who led the integration with existing Motorola Solutions and Connected Bits technology.
The Chicago Code for America fellows — Jesse Bounds, Angel Kittiyachavalit, Ben Sheldon, and Rob Brackett — for being so sensitive to the flow of the city and creating great software around it.
Audrey Mathis, Director of 311 Services, for leading the way in getting that vast infrastructure prepared for openness.
Q Ethan McCallum, for creating an early system that polls Twitter for food poisoning-related tweets after classification and helping to conceptualize the system workflow
Joe Olson, for writing the code that collects tweets and stores them using Mongo DB and node.js
Cory Nissen, for writing the code that classifies tweets and hand-coding thousands of them
Ryan Briones, a part of the Twitter Classification Group and then as Director at the Department of Innovation and Technology for working the API and maintaining all of the enterprise technology systems that actually make this thing work
Dr. Bechara Choucair, Commissioner of the Department of Public Health for his leadership and for first monitoring Twitter for the phrase “food poisoning” in Chicago in HootSuite. This was the genesis of the project, as first specced out here
Juan-Pablo Velez, for designing the first interface and integrating the Google Places API (initially in the context of this Developer Challenge) as well as testing the system in the Open 311 API
Scott Robbin, for developing the entire system, including the admin tool
Gerrin Butler, Director of Food Protection for CDPH, for providing information on the food protection process and sharing her passion for public health
Raed Mansour, for writing our admin manual and providing thought leadership on how to communicate with people on Twitter about their health
Dr. Jason Miller, for writing the intro text and form prompts so that the info we collect is useful to health safety professionals. Another little-known fact: he is the conceptual genius behind the City’s Flu Shot app
Chris Gansen, for setting up our server infrastructure and analytics system
Thanks, most of all, to the CDPH Food Protection Division, for actually doing the inspections that help keep us safe. All the tweets in the world can’t put a thermometer in a dairy case.
Thanks for that!
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