Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Prosple wins government prize for TheOpenBudget.org

by Rob d'Apice
This weekend past, Prosple competed in Govhack, a 48-hour competition to produce new applications using public government data. We built TheOpenBudget.org (in a team with a developer from OzDocsOnline), and ended up taking home the major prize in the Open Government Category, as well as a prize for Best Contribution to Open Data.

TheOpenBudget is a two-fold project.

First: it's a brand new source of government expenditure data. Previously, this has never been readily accessible to the general public - it's buried in 100-page PDFs published by each of the 15 federal government portfolios. Now, users can download their own version of the data in .csv format, or hook right into TheOpenBudget's API to build their own unique visualisations/analyses.

Second: it's a unique visualisation that allows users to easily explore the distribution of funds - it's much more transparent than a list of dot points published by the government (or its opposition, for that matter). This visualisation is open source (available on github), so anyone can use this same tool to explore any government budget, if they have properly formatted data.

We're pretty proud of how it scrubbed up in 48 hours:



Check it out now, and let us know what you think. You can click on a piece of pie to zoom in, and click in the centre circle to zoom out.

Note we've only got 5 of the 15 federal portfolios up at the moment, and the site works best in Chrome, Safari or IE9. Firefox will render the chart sluggishly, and IE8 or less won't show anything.

There were plenty of gems coming out of GovHack (particularly some with really novel uses for the National Archives data):
  • A Day in the Life, a historical mashup of both photos and data
  • History in ACTION, national archives info presented 
  • Route me, a twitter service: send it a location, it will reply with the bus number, location of the bus stop, and walking distance to get you there (it uses the location data tied to your current tweet). Not sure if the service is still active, unfortunately.
  • Time Capsule, visualisation of available ABS data.
You can take a gander at the rest of the govhack winners here.

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