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The OpenSpending Blog

Announcing the Alpha Version of OpenSpending Next

14 June 2016

Written by
  • The OpenSpending Team

We’re happy to announce that a new, improved version of OpenSpending is now being launched as an Alpha Version. OpenSpending Next provides a set of tools enabling users to visualise, analyse and publish budget and spending data - all based on the open Fiscal Data…
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Moving to Fiscal Data Package 0.3.0

20 January 2016

Written by
  • Dan Fowler

After hovering at alpha for a few months, we’re looking to move the Fiscal Data Package specification to version 0.3.0 by 31 January 2016. What does this mean? We would like to request interested parties read the current spec and raise any comments they have…
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OpenSpending Next + SpenDB = <3

30 November 2015

Written by
  • Friedrich Lindenberg
  • Rufus Pollock

This is a post by Friedrich Lindenberg and Rufus Pollock. Friedrich and Rufus have both been major and ongoing contributors to the OpenSpending project. Friedrich was the creator of OffenerHaushalt, the technical lead of OpenSpending 2011-2013, and the developer of SpenDB. Rufus is Founder of…
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OpenSpending Community’s New Home

09 July 2015

Written by
  • Dan Fowler

Welcome to the new OpenSpending Community site! This site is now built using Jekyll and hosted on GitHub Pages. What does this mean for you? It means that going forward, it should be easier to tweak, update, and contribute to the site to better fit…
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OpenSpending Community Hangout: Revised Date - Thursday 14th May

05 May 2015

Written by
  • Meg Foulkes

Our next community hangout will be on Thursday 14th May at 17:00 BST. If you haven’t signed up yet and you’d like to come along, please add your name to the OpenSpending Hangout Scratchpad. We’re looking for volunteers to give lightning talks and short updates…
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Announcing A New Architectural Roadmap for OpenSpending

15 April 2015

Written by
  • Meg Foulkes

At the 2015 Open Data Day a proposal for a new vision for the approach and architecture of OpenSpending was approved. It opens up an exciting opportunity for open budget initiatives around the world to work more closely together, whilst remaining independent. In a nutshell:…
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OpenSpending Community Hangout in April: Suggested Theme and Vote for the Date!

14 April 2015

Written by
  • Meg Foulkes

As some of you may know already, I’m delighted to now be working with the Open Spending community as community manager. I really look forward to meeting you all at our April Community Hangout! Going forward, we thought it might be a good idea to plan…
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Presenting public finance just got easier

20 March 2015

Written by
  • Tryggvi Björgvinsson

This blog post is cross-posted from the CKAN blog. CKAN 2.3 is out! The world-famous data handling software suite which powers data.gov, data.gov.uk and numerous other open data portals across the world has been significantly upgraded. How can this version open up new opportunities for…
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How to create a budget data package

15 October 2014

Written by
  • Neil Ashton

This tutorial will show you how to create a budget data package from a (relatively clean) spreadsheet dataset by walking you through the process of converting the Armenian budget from the Open Budgets Portal. Getting started The Armenia BOOST government expenditure database contains planned, adjusted,…
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In Cameroon, budget transparency one council at a time

05 August 2014

Written by
  • pierre chrzanowski

How a tool like OpenSpending can help to better channel public spending into basic services in Cameroon. Version française In Cameroon, forest exploitation yield lots of money. Wood is indeed the third largest source of exports of the country, following oil and cocoa. In return, every…
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Au Cameroun, la transparence budgétaire, village par village

05 August 2014

Written by
  • pierre chrzanowski

Comment un outil comme OpenSpending peut aider à mieux orienter les dépenses publiques vers les services de base au Cameroun. English version here Au Cameroun, l’exploitation des forêts rapporte beaucoup d’argent. Le bois est ainsi la troisième source d’exportation du pays, après le pétrole et…
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A specification for Budget Data: Introducing the Budget Data Package

17 July 2014

Written by
  • Lucy Chambers

As we descend into the buzz of the biggest week of the open calendar at OKFestival, the OpenSpending team wanted to quickly drop you a line about a piece of research we have been collaborating on together with the International Budget Partnership, Omidyar Network, and…
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Meet OpenSpending version 0.13.0

08 May 2014

Written by
  • Tryggvi Björgvinsson

This is going to be a slightly technical post (and has already been posted to the developer mailing list), but still it’s an important change so everyone is encouraged to read it. If you don’t understand something, then that’s just fine, it probably does not…
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Hackathon #ODD14 Barcelona

28 March 2014

Written by
  • Concha Catalan

On Saturday, February 22, International OpenDataDay (ODD), opengov.cat coordinated a hackathon for the first time. It took place in the great working space Makers of Barcelona. A hackathon is a meeting of journalists, programmers, and developers to work on a specific project. There were about…
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historiasdegasto.org is born to explore public expenditure in Spanish

11 March 2014

Written by
  • Concha Catalan

It was bound to happen in an organization such as the Open Knowledge Foundation. People who have never met face to face have been working to adapt the successful project spendingstories.org to Spanish. The API collects and compares episodes of public expenditure which are often…
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Help us keep the EU farm subsidies open and accessible

12 February 2014

Written by
  • Anders Pedersen

This is a post by Stefan Wehrmeyer and Anders Pedersen. Last year OpenSpending engaged in a partnership with FarmSubsidy.org to publish the data on payments for recipients of EU farm subsidies, officially known as the EU Common Agricultural Policy. EUR 50 bn. a year are…
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Open up your city’s finances on Open Data Day!

10 February 2014

Written by
  • Anders Pedersen

Open Data Day is coming up on February 22nd with events happening in cities across the world. Are you interested in the recent budget passed in your city council or curious about the expenditures of your local school board? Then be sure to get involved…
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New Features in December 2013

07 January 2014

Written by
  • Tryggvi Björgvinsson

Happy New Year OpenSpending! The last month of 2013 was exciting. Even though the community took some time off around the holidays we still managed to squeeze in some really great developments and some big releases. Commandline loading Our loading API got some attention this…
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Mapping the Open Spending Data Community

03 January 2014

Written by
  • Neil Ashton

[caption id=”attachment_1779” align=”aligncenter” width=”669”] Mapping the Open Spending Data Community[/caption] We’re pleased to announce the official release of “Mapping the Open Spending Data Community” by Anders Pedersen and Lucy Chambers, an in-depth look at how citizens, journalists, and civil society organisations around the world are…
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The Spending Data Handbook, revised and updated

01 January 2014

Written by
  • Neil Ashton

[caption width=”500” align=”aligncenter”] Photo credit: Anthony Joh[/caption] The Spending Data Handbook is a user’s manual for government budget and spending data. If you want to learn what spending data is and how to work with it—whether you’re a journalist, a member of a civil society organization,…
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New Features in November 2013

12 December 2013

Written by
  • Tryggvi Björgvinsson

It’s so exciting to participate in the OpenSpending project. We continue to raise the bar when it comes to what we as a community can do and that’s just what we did in November. The community is growing and achieving more (as you do when…
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Big Lottery Fund Grants Data on OpenSpending

11 December 2013

Written by
  • Rufus Pollock

The Big Lottery Fund have been doing some great strides with open data publishing all of their historical grants data as open data at: http://www.biglotteryfund.org.uk/research/open-data This seemed perfect for OpenSpending and so with a few minutes of data wrangling we’ve got the data into OpenSpending…
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Processing data for Open Spending

06 December 2013

Written by
  • Olaf Veerman

Flipside is a Lisbon-based web development agency that recently added over 380,000 non-bid contracts from the Portuguese government to OpenSpending. This guest post by Daniel Silva describes how it was done. Even though the data on non-bid expenditures from the Portuguese government is already publicly…
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Help map spending projects around world!

01 December 2013

Written by
  • Anders Pedersen

OpenSpending data is used in projects across the globe by students, journalists, activists, news media, governments, and others. Browse the map to discover some of these exciting projects, and get ideas for your own spending tracking projects. News Editor Anna Flagg has now created an…
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BudgIT: An App and Platform to track service delivery

27 November 2013

Written by
  • Oluseun Onigbinde

I swim in an innovation pool that boasts of developers, interface designers, programmers and entrepreneurs called Co-Creation Hub. Located in the emerging tech district in Lagos, Co-Creation Hub is  the geek’s nest and the innovator’s hub. I am a faithful of that academy that picked…
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LinkedSpending: OpenSpending becomes Linked Open Data

25 November 2013

Written by
  • Anders Pedersen

The LinkedSpending project converts the OpenSpending data to RDF and publishes the resulting data. This data is represented in the RDF Data Cube format and is freely available and openly licensed. Conversion All of the OpenSpending datasets describe observations referring to a specific point or…
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Launching Spending Stories: How much is it really?

21 November 2013

Written by
  • Neil Ashton

Spending Stories is a new way to put spending figures in their proper perspective. Developed by the Open Knowledge Foundation and Journalism++ with funding from the Knight Foundation, Spending Stories is an app that helps citizens and journalists understand and compare amounts in stories from…
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New Features in October 2013

14 November 2013

Written by
  • Tryggvi Björgvinsson

Compared to September, October may seem a less active month in terms of development. However, though there were fewer features in October they were bigger and took longer to develop. Let’s just dive in. Increased security One of the most important features we added in…
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Northern Mariana Islands Retirement Fund Bankruptcy

09 November 2013

Written by
  • Rufus Pollock

Back on April 17 2012 the Northern Mariana Islands Retirement Fund attempted to file for bankruptcy under Chapter 11. There was some pretty interesting reading in their petition for bankruptcy including this section (para 10) which suggests some pretty bad public financial management (emphasis added):…
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Who should control the budget?

05 November 2013

Written by
  • tarikn

Who is really ruling the country? Is it the political party with the most ministerial seats, or the one with the most influential ones? And how do we measure the relative weight of a ministry? Morocco’s government, as in many countries around the globe, consists…
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Joined Up Data: first steps towards connecting transparency initiatives

01 November 2013

Written by
  • Neil Ashton

Unprecedented amounts of information on the financial resources available to fight poverty are now being released through the efforts of multi-stakeholder transparency initiatives in sectors like aid, construction, contracting, and extractives. Unleashing this data’s potential will mean joining it up, following the money by merging…
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Human Centered data: Takes from workshop at OKCon

30 October 2013

Written by
  • Anders Pedersen

The Human Centered Data workshop held at OKCon 2013 by the Sunlight Foundation’s Kaitlin Devine and Júlia Keseru asked: what would public spending data look like if it were actually designed to be used? The workshop wisely refrained from looking for a single answer to…
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budzeti.ba: following the money in Bosnia and Herzegovina

29 October 2013

Written by
  • Neil Ashton

We’re pleased to announce the launch of budzeti.ba, a new way to understand public spending in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH). budzeti.ba is a joint project of Bosnian civil society advocates CPI and the Open Knowledge Foundation. It allows Bosnian citizens to navigate the complexities of…
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Wearing your examples

07 October 2013

Written by
  • Tryggvi Björgvinsson

OpenSpending and Journalism++ are collaborating on a project we call How much is it really? The goal of the project is to create a webapp where users can type in a number to rough equivalents. The idea is that a reader of the news might…
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Features in September 2013

04 October 2013

Written by
  • Tryggvi Björgvinsson

Like we said in our last development update, September was going to be awesome. And boy oh boy did that come true. There were a lot of great features added to OpenSpending. Some of them we can safely say might change the way people use…
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News Editors and Data Wranglers Hangout - Live

02 October 2013

Written by
  • Teodora Beleaga

The News Editors’ and Data Wranglers’ Teams are catching up tonight in a joint Hangout. In the interest of transparency we are running this live-blog as an experiment. Refresh at your convenience. 7.02pm (GMT) We are wrapping up, as our to-do lists are growing. Final…
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Announcing the News Editors’ and Data Wranglers’ Teams

02 October 2013

Written by
  • Teodora Beleaga

At OpenSpending, our restless community drives our work and so our volunteers are key to our activities. Today we are welcoming those joining the News Editors’ and Data Wranglers’ teams. Find out more about them and what they stand for in the short bios below. Many…
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Sevilla Presus: Data-driven journalism at municipal level

01 October 2013

Written by
  • J. Félix Ontañón

A such a disruptive technology as Internet, is forcing us to re-think the role and methods of many professions. Old models hasn’t died yet, but in the new ones we can find some common patterns for success: empowering people through a community for cooperation. Journalism…
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Features in July and August 2013

24 September 2013

Written by
  • Tryggvi Björgvinsson

We owe you a lot of development updates. Both July and August (and it’s well past middle of September now). September is shaping up to be an awesome month, but more on that later (since there is still room for more awesomeness). In this post…
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Partnership with CERN results in new Load API

18 September 2013

Written by
  • albertorodriguezpeon

This summer OpenSpending and the Openlab at CERN partnered on an internship programme to enhance financial transparency at CERN. Under the partnership Alberto Rodriguez Peon spent 8 weeks working with the OpenSpending developer community and supervisors at CERN to build the first load API for the…
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Announcing the OpenSpending Steering Group

18 September 2013

Written by
  • Anders Pedersen

OpenSpending’s code base, datasets, and community have grown rapidly over the past years. In July we announced a proposal for a new community-based governance structure to support the continued growth of the project. The new steering group and associated teams of OpenSpending will provide that structure….
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XBRL vs. CSV: The CSV might be a Swiss army knife, but it is the wrong tool

16 September 2013

Written by
  • Anders Pedersen

In our ongoing debate about the pros and cons of XBRL and CSV, we are pleased that we are able to post this response from Charles Hoffman, who is widely credited as one of the main accountants behind XBRL. If this is the first post…
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What public finance can learn from public transit about data standards

13 September 2013

Written by
  • Friedrich Lindenberg

Cross-posted from TabbFORUM, a discussion board on important issues affecting global capital markets. Last week, Marc Joffe published a piece describing the potential of standardized financial disclosure for municipal governments (“The Case for Muni XBRL: Bringing Municipal Financial Disclosure Into the 21st Century,” TabbFORUM). I fully agree…
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Workshop at OKCon: Human Centered Data - What Should Public Spending Data Tell Us?

10 September 2013

Written by
  • Anders Pedersen

We are now less than a week away from OKCon, with an amazing programme from topics on open government to open finances, procurements and spending. If you are looking to go, but did not get your ticket now is the time! If you will be at…
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Visualizing Data in OpenSpending

04 September 2013

Written by
  • Michael Bauer

This post is cross-posted from the PBS Idea Lab Blog. OpenSpending is a database, analysis, and visualization tool for budget- and expenditure-related data. It acts as a data warehouse, giving you access access to budgetary data from around the world. One of OpenSpending’s most commonly…
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OpenSpending News Round-up, September 2

02 September 2013

Written by
  • Teodora Beleaga

Fiscal transparency never sleeps, and neither does the OpenSpending community. To keep track of all happenings across the open spending spectrum, we’re rounding up on latest blogs, stories and datasets each week. But we’re only human, so if we miss anything, give us a nudge…
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New York State Comptroller Using Open Data and Models to Track Local Government Finances

29 August 2013

Written by
  • Marc Joffe

In the wake of Detroit’s bankruptcy filing, many are wondering which city will be next. Thanks to an innovative fiscal transparency project undertaken by the New York State Comptroller’s Office, it is unlikely that the next municipal bankruptcy will occur in “Empire” State. Earlier this…
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D3.js Sankey diagrams with the OpenSpending API

28 August 2013

Written by
  • J. Félix Ontañón

This post is cross-posted from the PBS Idea Lab Blog. OpenSpending has a built-in set of visualizations – bubble charts, treemaps, and tables – which are useful for exploring how data is structured in levels. None of them, however, are really suitable for representing spending…
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OpenSpending News Round-up, August 26

26 August 2013

Written by
  • Teodora Beleaga

Fiscal transparency never sleeps, and neither does the OpenSpending community. To keep track of all happenings across the open spending spectrum, we’re rounding up on latest blogs, stories and datasets each week. But we’re only human, so if we miss anything, give us a nudge…
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OpenSpending site move sprint

20 August 2013

Written by
  • Neil Ashton

We’re doing a big move of OpenSpending web content! Most of http://openspending.org is moving over to http://blog.openspending.org, and we need your help to get it there. We want to make it easier for the community to create and manage OpenSpending’s web content. That’s why we’ve…
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Visualizing How the Brazilian Government Underspends on the Public Good

20 August 2013

Written by
  • Vítor Baptista

This post was co-authored with Neil Ashton and is cross-posted from the PBS Ideas Blog. Brazilian NGO INESC (Institute of Socio-Economic Studies) and Open Knowledge Foundation Brasil want Brazilians to participate in the allocation of their public spending and ensure that it is used to…
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OpenSpending News Round-up, August 19

19 August 2013

Written by
  • Teodora Beleaga

Fiscal transparency never sleeps, and neither does the OpenSpending community. To keep track of all happenings across the open spending spectrum, we’re rounding up on latest blogs, stories and datasets each week. But we’re only human, so if we miss anything, give us a nudge…
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Join our News and Website team!

16 August 2013

Written by
  • Anders Pedersen

Every day, government spending makes headlines. At OpenSpending, we want to help the public put the numbers in perspective by showing how the news relates to spending data. We are looking for volunteers to join our News and Website team to help run our blog…
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OpenSpending News Round-up, August 12

12 August 2013

Written by
  • Teodora Beleaga

Fiscal transparency never sleeps, and neither does the OpenSpending community. To keep track of all happenings across the open spending spectrum, we’re rounding up on latest blogs, stories and datasets each week. But we’re only human, so if we miss anything, give us a nudge…
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Kathmandu Metropolitan Spending Party

05 August 2013

Written by
  • Prakash Neupane

Kathmandu, city of temple, capital of naturally enriched (Mountains, lakes, Hills, River) palace Nepal. Where people believe more than 4 millions (but record shows 2.5 millions) people reside in 50.67 square km area. All the governance body(ministries, departments, commissions), legislative body(Supreme Court, Armed Court), Security…
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Lagos City Spending Party

02 August 2013

Written by
  • Oluseun Onigbinde

Lagos is the financial capital of Nigeria. With a population of over 17 million people over an area of 356,861 hectares, Lagos is responsible for over 70% of Nigeria’s non-oil revenue.  Taken as a country, Lagos GDP of $86.7bn exceeds that of Kenya, East Africa…
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Community update: Data wrangling list, moving day for our progress page and more

31 July 2013

Written by
  • Anders Pedersen

It has been a few busy weeks around OpenSpending, and so it is time for another community update! ###Introducing Datatoload: a place to list datasets that you would like to add to OpenSpending Two months back we launched progress.openspending.org in order to make it easy…
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Predicting city bankruptcies with open data: The case of Detroit

29 July 2013

Written by
  • Anders Pedersen

This is a guest post by Marc Joffe of Public Sector Credit Solutions. Many have noticed that the United States last week was struck by its biggest municipal bankruptcy ever, when the City of Detroit declared bankruptcy. Less well known is the fact that Moody’s,…
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City Spending Party around the world

26 July 2013

Written by
  • Anders Pedersen

Last weekend more than a hundred budget nerds and engaged citizens gathered at 20 spending data parties to open up city spending and budgets. From Lagos to Kathmandu groups dived into budget data across the OpenSpending community as part of this first global City Spending…
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Opening up municipal spending data

11 July 2013

Written by
  • Niels Erik Kaaber Rasmussen

The open data web-agency Buhl & Rasmussen has developed a site visualizing the budgets of all 98 Danish municipalities for one of the biggest Danish news sites, Politiken. Municipalities are central for the functioning of the welfare state Denmark. They take care of a range…
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“Where Does My Money Go?” activities have become infectious in Japan

10 July 2013

Written by
  • Hiroichi Kawashima

“Where Does My Money Go? (WDMMG)” activities have become infectious in Japan, as sites are gaining ground across cities all over Japan. Accordingly, Open Knowledge Foundation (OKF) Japan Group has been receiving increasing number of inquiries on how to develop WDMMG sites from both forward-looking…
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Community update

09 July 2013

Written by
  • Anders Pedersen

This is an update with news from members across the OpenSpending community. We list some of the many ways you can get involved, and we give a status on how registrations are coming along for the City Spending Data Party on July 19-21. Hint, we…
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Join the OpenSpending data wranglers and help open up finances around the world!

08 July 2013

Written by
  • Anders Pedersen

Do you like sharing your skills for working with spending data? Would you like to help other community members to clean budget data? We are looking for volunteer Data Wranglers to prepare and load data into OpenSpending and to support community members with data-related issues. How it…
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Exploring Senegal Public Procurements : how we turned PDF files into browsable data ?

04 July 2013

Written by
  • pierre chrzanowski

Blog post co-authored by Patrick Nsukami (Dakar Linux User Group), Pierre Chrzanowski (Open Knowledge Foundation France) and Tangui Morlier (Regards Citoyens). As part of the “Tandem Dakar Paris” a Digital Week organized in May by the French Institute, Jokkolabs (Dakar) and La Cantine (Paris), people from…
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New Features in June 2013

03 July 2013

Written by
  • tryggvib

The summer is here so shouldn’t we be outside? Well, in a way we have. Bulk of the work this month has been on stuff outside of the core OpenSpending platform although there have also been some changes to the platform itself. Contribution Attribution First…
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Supporting growth of the OS project and community - a proposal

02 July 2013

Written by
  • anders

Over the last few years OpenSpending has seen rapid growth in terms of technology, datasets, and community. As with many projects when they achieve a certain threshold of success and activity, the time has come to bring a bit more structure to the growth of…
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Join us for a City Spending Data Party and map the money near you!

30 June 2013

Written by
  • anders

More than half of the citizens of the world live in a city. From schools to fire brigades cities are responsible for some of the most important services we can think of when it comes to government. So whether the nearby school is paid by…
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Next Community Hangout 3 July

26 June 2013

Written by
  • anders

We’ll be running the next Community Call via Google Hangout Wednesday 3 July. When: 3 July, 19:00 CET / 18:00 GMT / 13:00 EDT - your time zone Where: On Google Hangout. Sign up in the form below. Agenda: - Taxation and open data: Follow…
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Budget transparency for an open university

17 June 2013

Written by
  • anders

This is a guest post by José Félix Ontañón of Openkratio. The project began by scraping budget documents in PDF format published by the University of Grenade to a machine-readable format with the purpose of making it easier for citizens, journalists and even employees at…
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Next Data Clinic 19 June

14 June 2013

Written by
  • anders

Earlier this month we organised the first OpenSpending Data Clinic, to offer help on how you can work with your budget or spending data. At the first clinic we gave feedback on how to format the Canadian budget and how to convert PDFs from the…
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How to understand data from the EIB - what does the data tell us?

12 June 2013

Written by
  • anders

This is a guest post by Anna Roggenbuck from Bankwatch. The European Investment Bank (EIB) is the house bank of the EU. It has a lending portfolio of about 60 billion euros annually, about 90 percent of which go to projects within the EU. For…
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Next Community Hangout 12 June

10 June 2013

Written by
  • anders

We’ll be running another Community call via Google Hangout Wednesday this week. When: 12 June, 19:00 CET / 18:00 GMT / 13:00 EDT - your time zone Where: On Google Hangout. Sign up in the form below. Agenda: - “How to crunch numbers from the…
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Budget monitoring in an Amsterdam neighborhood

05 June 2013

Budget monitoring in an Amsterdam neighborhood The Centre for Budget Monitoring and Citizen Participation (www.budgetmonitoring.nl) is a Dutch organization founded in December 2011. The foundation is the result of a co-operation between active citizens and social workers from the Netherlands and INESC from Brazil (www.inesc.org.br),…
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New Features in May 2013

05 June 2013

Written by
  • tryggvib

This is perhaps not a very attention grabbing title for this post, but some cool new features have landed in OpenSpending this month. We’re really proud of them so we thought we’d share them with you. Badges We’ve got badges! OpenSpending administrators can now award…
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Hack for Change helps publish data from Washington DC

04 June 2013

Written by
  • anders

This weekend thousands of people gathered across United States for a national day of civic hacking. OpenSpending joined organisers at Code for DC in Washington to work on transactional spending data published by the city for 2010 to 2013. The data now allows you to…
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Making sense of French press aid

02 June 2013

This is a guest post by Samuel Goëta, OKF France. On May 22nd members of the OKFN local group France met at la Cantine, the digital hub of Paris, for visualising press aid data. This workshop held prior to a conference organised by the Social…
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Opening the EU procurement database

27 May 2013

On 2 May civic coders and journalists from across Europe from Norway to Slovenia met up in Brussels for a Hack Day supported by Knight Mozilla Open News to dig into the EU procurement register, Tender Electronic Daily. Here are a few of the highlights…
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Introducing the Progress page

14 May 2013

For the past months we’ve seen many new users come to the OpenSpending community. The community have now added budget data from more than 80 cities and most recently universities have also found their way onto OpenSpending. While we’re thrilled by the uptake in use…
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Opening Israel’s Budget

22 April 2013

Written by
  • anders

This is a guest post by Aviv Sharon and Adam Kariv from The Public Knowledge Workshop based in Israel. “Show me the money!” If you ask the developers of “Taktziv Patuakh” (Hebrew for “Open Budget”), one of the projects of Israeli non-profit “The Public Knowledge…
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Join us for Hack Day on EU procurement data May 2 in Brussels

09 April 2013

Next month OpenSpending will be at the annual DataHarvest, where investigative journalists and civic coders dig into data projects from across Europe. The DataHarvest takes it name from the annual release of payments to farmers under the Common Agricultural Policy analyzes by the friends at…
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Visualising Urban development data at UN-Habitat

06 April 2013

This is a guest post by Pontus Westerberg, UN-Habitat In September 2012, UN-Habitat, the UN agency responsible for promoting sustainable towns and cities, became the third UN organisation to publish data to the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI) standard. As the project manager for what…
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FAQ - The Daily Bread in the UK

04 April 2013

The annual release of the budget proposal from the UK government last month, once again sparked interest in the Daily Bread calculator, which was featured at the Guardian. This FAQ is intended to give you a quick walk-trough on how and why we made the…
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How to Embed Open Spending Databases to Your Own Website

20 March 2013

Written by
  • lisa

This post is by Lisa Evans of the Spending Stories project at OpenSpending and cross-posted from the PBS Idea Lab. The Open Spending platform is a hive of activity and packed full of colorful displays of spending and budgets from all over the world. Its…
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AfricanSpending - Knight News Challenge with Open Institute and African Media Initiative

19 March 2013

Written by
  • lucy

The Open Knowledge Foundation, in partnership with the Open Institute in Kenya and the African Media Initiative have submitted a proposal to the Knight News Challenge on Open Government with the title AfricanSpending - Monitoring the Money. The focus of this proposal is enabling journalists…
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OpenSpending around the world, Week 11

15 March 2013

Written by
  • anders

We’re bringing you an update with news from OpenSpending and financial transparency around the world. Fresh data and activities from OpenSpending Tajima Itsuro has written an excellent guide in Japanese for uploading data to OpenSending. The Open Data Census demonstrated that several countries like Slovenia,…
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Publish What You Fund Launches Aid Transparency Tracker

13 March 2013

Written by
  • mark

Publish What You Fund has undertaken some initial analysis of aid donors’ plans to publish to the IATI component of the agreed common standard for aid information. Here, Mark Brough explains the process they went through to take a series of Excel files, convert them…
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Spending Stories, Open Spending Are Moving Beyond Visualizations

05 March 2013

Written by
  • lisa

This post is by Lisa Evans of the Spending Stories project at OpenSpending and cross-posted from the PBS Idea Lab. 2013 is going to be a big year for the spending stories project. In 2012, as we explained in more detail on our blog, we…
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OpenSpending around the world, Week 9

01 March 2013

Written by
  • anders

Fresh data and activities from OpenSpending During Open Data Day we saw activities across cities.In Ottawa Stephane Frechette helped upload budget data for city for 2013. In Goettingen, Germany the Pirate Party used OpenSpending to visualize the city budget for expenditures and revenues. Victoria Vlad…
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Budgetstories.md - using open budget data to create meaningful stories

28 February 2013

Written by
  • victoria

This is a guest post by Victoria Vlad from BudgetStories.md. Today Expert-Grup, an independent think tank based in Chișinău, Moldova, launched BudgetStories.md. BudgetStories.md is an open budget website, which includes infographics, budget data visualizations and analysis of the use of public money in Moldova across…
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OpenSpending around the world, Week 8

22 February 2013

Written by
  • anders

We’re bringing you an update with news from OpenSpending and financial transparency around the world. Fresh data and activities from OpenSpending City budgets: We’re thrilled to see how lots of new cities have been added to OpenSpending. Have a look at some of the budgets…
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How to find spending data inside EU’s budget - join us for a Google Hangout!

14 February 2013

Written by
  • anders

Last week leaders from the European Union agreed, after months of haggling, on the 2014-2020 EU budget - also known as the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF). The €960bn budget shown above marked a widely reported reduction in the budget, but many other stories can be…
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Opening Budgets in Morocco

12 February 2013

Written by
  • martin

This post is written by Martin Keegan. In January I attended a conference in Morocco at the University of Mundiapolis in Casablanca, to present OpenSpending. The conference attracted a broad range of interests: civil society organisations, journalists, private companies, academics and students, the World Bank,…
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Can Open Data and Mobile Technology Eliminate the Need for a “Feedback” Loop? - Reimagining the new World Bank Open Finances app

29 January 2013

Written by
  • samuel

This is a guest post by Samuel Lee with contributions from Francesco Ciriaci and Julia Bezgacheva. Efforts to make spending information more relevant and actionable often suffer from low levels of financial literacy, complexity, and just the unfavorable common perception that financial data is boring…
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The Open Budget Survey is out

24 January 2013

Written by
  • anders

Yesterday the International Budget Partnership published their 2012 Open Budget Survey assessing fiscal transparency across 100 countries. The survey is the most comprehensive of its kind and evaluates countries across 125 questions on everything from the independence of state auditors to the transparency of every…
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The Open Budget Survey is out

24 January 2013

Yesterday the [International Budget Partnership] (http://internationalbudget.org/) published their [2012 Open Budget Survey] (http://survey.internationalbudget.org/#rankings) evaluating fiscal transparency across 100 countries. Based on the survey, IBP calculates the Open Budget Index, as a measure for comparing budget transparency across the world. The survey is based on the…
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How to decrypt a budget?

22 January 2013

Written by
  • lisa

If you’ve ever read, or even better tried to explain a budget you’ll be completely aware that budgets are jargon fests. This would be fine if the budget was just for people who know the lingo, but in the case of a government’s budget, well,…
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OpenSpending community member identifies unredacted private transactions in UK local public spending data

09 January 2013

Written by
  • lucy

A freelance data specialist from our community recently got in touch to let us know that he had used OpenSpending to identify a number of privacy breaches in an individual dataset presented in OpenSpending. This was due to inconsistent redaction of sensitive data by the…
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An Open Call for Ideas - How Would You Use OpenSpending’s Data Calendar?

08 January 2013

Written by
  • lisa

With the new year upon us, it’s the time of year when you might be thinking about the calendars you use and wondering how they could work better for you. Just over a month ago, the OpenSpending team floated the idea of an open spending…
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Welcome Anders

07 January 2013

Welcome, Anders!


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OpenSpending A Year in Review

24 December 2012

Written by
  • lucy

Just before I turn on my autoresponder and submerge my computer into the blackness of holiday in a concrete box to which I have no access, I thought I’d just quickly wrap up a few of the highlights from this amazing year. It has been…
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We’re hiring!

18 December 2012

Written by
  • lucy

Hacker? Passionate about finding stories in the money? Care about which companies get contracts with government? OpenSpending is seeking a lead developer to guide it through its next phase of development and it might be just the job for you! OpenSpending is about mapping the…
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Bosnian Budgets - grouping data by categories people care about

30 November 2012

Written by
  • lucy

Last week, I sat watching the team of CPI Bosnia mapping the Bosnian budget into functional classifications. We’re working on making the budget accessible to the citizens of Bosnia, making clear visually things such as the division of funds between the cantons and municipalities of…
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Day 3 OpenSpending CSO Workshop - Sarajevo

28 November 2012

Written by
  • lucy

This blogpost is the last in the series of the OpenSpending workshop - Sarajevo. Read the first post and the second post on the OpenSpending blog. Day 3 - Getting your message out As a CSO, once you have done all of this work, how…
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Day 2 OpenSpending CSO Workshop - Sarajevo

27 November 2012

Written by
  • lucy

This blogpost is the second in the series of the OpenSpending workshop - Sarajevo. Read the first post on the OpenSpending blog. Day 2 - Converting Data into Action & Finding Narratives in Data The people we are trying to target with this data are…
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Day 1 OpenSpending CSO Workshop - Sarajevo

26 November 2012

Written by
  • lucy

A while back, we wrote about the kickoff of our project to deliver the budget of Bosnia and Herzegovina to its citizens in a form they can understand. Last week in Sarajevo - we had the kickoff workshop, bringing together a group of techies and…
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Spending Data Handbook - Draft Version

15 November 2012

Written by
  • friedrich

After four days of intense writing, discussions and editing, it is now almost midnight: our handbook sprint is over. What we have produced is an introduction to the use of data for budget- and spending-focussed advocacy. We’ve produced a high-level overview that covers a variety…
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Spending Data Handbook Sprint - Day 1

13 November 2012

Written by
  • lucy

As you read this, we’re writing a book about spending. It’ll be finished by Thursday so you can read it over the weekend, as you sit down to do, (or not do) your armchair auditing of government accounts. As we get the opportunity to meet…
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Open Interests Hackathon - November 24-25, London, England

22 October 2012

Written by
  • friedrich

As a journalist, to understand European Union institutions, policies and commitments, you have to look where the money goes and understand who affects the money flow in the EU. As the influence of Brussels lobbyists grows, it is increasingly important to draw the connections between…
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20 October 2012

Written by
  • lucy

The OpenSpending platform experienced a huge peak in traffic earlier this week as a visualisation based on French data was featured in Le Monde. The article “PLF : des avions au bouclier fiscal, la java des amendements”, (PLF=Projet de loi de finances, the draft finance…
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Upcoming call - Spending Standard

03 October 2012

Written by
  • lucy

At OKFestival we had a fantastic session bringing together the IATI and spending community to talk about how we could make standards work for the users of government financial data. Now we want to keep the ball rolling. Next week, we will have a call…
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PROFILE - ‘Publicidad Oficial’ - Official Advertising, Fundar, Mexico

02 October 2012

Written by
  • federico

At Open Knowledge Festival, Federico Ramírez from Mexico presented Fundar’s project on uncovering which government parties were using taxpayers’s money to finance their PR and advertising. In this post, based on an interview Velichka Dimitrova did when she went out to Mexico for OpenDataMx, the…
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Balkan Budget Bubbles

26 September 2012

Written by
  • lucy

We’re pleased to announce that the Where Does My Money Go bubbles are on their way to the Balkans! Thanks to a grant from the National Endowment for Democracy, the OpenSpending team will be working with the Centre for Public Interest Advocacy in Bosnia to…
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Where Does the Money Go - International. Updates from OKFestival

24 September 2012

Written by
  • lucy

We got a chance to catch up with many old OpenSpending friends at OKFestival last week and got the chance to meet some new ones. For any of you who missed the action, here’s a quick recap… Machine Readable Budgets for the Netherlands The week…
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First steps for Participatory Budgeting in Finland

17 September 2012

Written by
  • raimo

This post is written by Raimo Muurinen and Henri Ahti who are taking a lead on one of Finland’s first Participatory Budgeting (PB) projects with Helsinki City Library. The post comes just as we prepare for Tiago Peixoto’s (aka @participatory) keynote and talk on how…
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UK Departmental Government Spending - Improving the Quality of Reporting

13 September 2012

Written by
  • lucy

Continuing in their mission to make spending data more accessible and comprehensible, the Spending Stories team and the team of Data.Gov.Uk are releasing a reporting tool today that will help journalists and analysts to pick the freshest and best departmental spending data to work with…
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Spending Data Handbook - How do Civil Society Organisations Wrangle Spending Data?

11 September 2012

Written by
  • lucy

Over the last few months, we have been travelling the globe in an effort to work out which organisations are mapping the ebbs and flows of government money - and how they do it. In a series of interviews, currently being published via the OpenSpending…
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Athens to Berlin - PROFILE - Bani pierduti? (Lost money?)

15 August 2012

Written by
  • lucy

</strong>This is a profile of a very interesting new project coming out of Romania, aiming to make government finances understandable for the average citizen. It is written based on contributions from Elena Calistru, who kicked off the project.</strong> Vital Statistics </strong>Name of Project:</strong> Bani pierduti?…
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An introduction to the TaxMan

05 August 2012

Written by
  • nick

One of the pieces of technology powering Where Does My Money Go is a standalone application, TaxMan, that performs a rather dull yet important task. As anyone who has filled out a tax return will know, tax can be rather complicated, with numerous steps and…
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Athens to Berlin - PROFILE - Our Money, the Budapest Institute

27 July 2012

Written by
  • lucy

This post was written based on the contributions of Petra Reszkető, Balázs Váradi and Timea Sütő of the Budapest Institute, Hungary. The video of their interview will be displayed as part of the complete series Athens to Berlin. The Budapest Institute is an independent think-thank….
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Athens to Berlin - Romania’s Money Mappers.

20 July 2012

Written by
  • lucy

Although the people I meet here in Romania seem to dispute the fact - Bucharest has a very strong NGO scene. Corruption, both institutional and petty, comes high on the focus agenda as well as making citizens vaguely data-literate about how the government spends money…
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Caring for My Neighbourhood - Geolocating Spending in Brazil

19 July 2012

Written by
  • gisele

This post was written by Gisele Craveiro, of the University of São Paulo, member of OKFN Brazil and one of the coordinators of GPoPAI (Research Group of Public Politics in Access to Information). The public budget should express the population’s needs and priorities and its…
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Athens to Berlin - PROFILE - Linked Data and Public Spending

16 July 2012

Written by
  • lucy

From the hot, dusty streets of Athens, I trundle in to breezy but baking Thessaloniki on a late-night train… In the apparent absence of any budget-monitoring or advocacy groups in Greece, a group of programmers are working directly with the Diavgeia data to present it…
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Athens to Berlin - Chicken or the Egg? Days 2-4 (Athens and Thessaloniki)

16 July 2012

Written by
  • lucy

Immediately after landing in Greece, I have my first experience of where austerity cuts were hitting services. While attempting to buy tickets for the metro, I struck up conversation with an irate but lovely lady named Tina, who was irritated to have to travel all…
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Athens to Berlin - Day 1, Diavgeia

11 July 2012

Written by
  • lucy

This is the first update from the project: Athens to Berlin - a European Financial Profile In the sweltering heat of downtown Athens, I visit the heart of Greece’s new transparency initiative - Diavgeia… Diavgeia - Transparency, for Governments’ Sake Greece has historically been known…
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Athens to Berlin - a European Financial Profile

05 July 2012

Written by
  • lucy

How does the work of budget monitoring organisations, investigative journalists, academic researchers and think-tanks differ in the various countries of Europe? What are the key questions these organisations address - are they largely the same in every country, or does each country have a different…
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Test

02 July 2012

Tester Tester


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Budget Cycle Monitoring Hackday at OKFest

28 June 2012

Written by
  • lucy

Often, the only way to check whether governments are releasing financial documents, is retroactively. But what if it were possible to receive alerts and check up against internationally recognised best-practice guidelines as to when the government in your country should be releasing key budget documents?…
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Video Instruction Guide - Loading Data Into OpenSpending

11 June 2012

Written by
  • lucy

Recently, the OpenSpending team have been working on a project to visualise financial data in Cameroon. One of the aims of the project is to create a platform which is sustainable for years to come and that means that it needs to be really easy…
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Workshop - Open Budget and Procurement Zurich June 28th 2012

11 June 2012

Written by
  • matthias

As part of the Opendata.ch conference on June 28th 2012 in Zürich there will be a workshop dedicated to the topic of open budget and procurement. Various speakers from Switzerland and Germany will make short presentations and the discuss with the audience the implications and…
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Aid Data - From XML to Visualisations

05 June 2012

Written by
  • mark

Are the World Bank and Department for International Development (DfID) spending money on projects in similar sectors and countries? Does all aid to Kenya go the North-East? How much aid in total did India receive last year? Until recently, it was impossible to know. But…
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Technology for Transparent and Accountable Public Finance

29 May 2012

Written by
  • lucy

In early March, we embarked on a project to map out projects which use technology to further the aims of fiscal transparency, accountability and participation. Today, we are happy to announce the official release of the resulting report, Technology for Transparent and Accountable Public Finance….
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Voting Systems for E-Participatory Budgeting - Upcoming Call

13 March 2012

Written by
  • lucy

What are the best systems for voting in tech-solutions to Participatory Budgeting? Join upcoming call to contribute to the discussion. The Doodle Poll is out here - please fill it in if you would like to join to help us schedule the call. If you…
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Technology for Fiscal Transparency, Where Next?

12 March 2012

Written by
  • lucy

Who is using technology to follow the money? The hunt is on… Over the last month, we have been working on a report entitled “Technology for Transparent and Accountable Public Finance” for the Global Initiative on Fiscal Transparency. We are hoping to identify the most…
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UK 25k Spending Data

08 March 2012

Since the question just came up about what’s going on there, figure this is a good day to tidy this up and send it out… Most people who managed to submit sources sent in data that was substantially correct, with the only inconveniences being: arbitrary…
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Participatory Budgeting and Technology

06 March 2012

Written by
  • lucy

Last week we held our first Open Meeting on Software for Participatory Budgeting. We just scratched the surface of this huge topic, but here are the first notes. A full write up in blog-post form will follow after a few more calls You can contribute…
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Calculating Portugal’s taxes

06 March 2012

This post is by Nuno Moniz, who has recently developed an application to allow citizens in Portugal to calculate where their taxes go. Portuguese citizens can see how much they contribute to the State on a daily, weekly and monthly basis here and if they…
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Open Meeting: Software for Participatory Budgeting

29 February 2012

Written by
  • lucy

There are already shining examples of direct forms of democracy and deliberation going on around the world but many of them are small scale, local and idiosyncratic solutions. Can technology help to take these discussions to the next level and offer templates for solutions that…
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How Spending Stories Fact Checks Big Brother, the Wiretappers’ Ball

24 February 2012

Written by
  • lucy

This piece was co-written with Eric King of Privacy International and comes as Privacy International launches a huge new data release about companies selling surveillance technologies. It is cross-posted on the MediaShift PBS IDEA LAB Today, the global surveillance industry is estimated at around $5…
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Announcing the Where Does My Money Go? Assembly Kit

16 February 2012

Written by
  • friedrich

Over the past few months, we’ve made a lot of progress on OpenSpending. The core of the application is now mostly stable and it is getting ever easier to load data into the platform through the web-based dataset editor. Yet, inevitably, this raises a simple…
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The Czech budget on-line: the half success story

15 February 2012

Written by
  • michal

This post is by Michal Škop, of KohoVolit.eu. The half-success story of implementing OpenSpending.org and OtwarteDane.pl into BudovaniStatu.cz (‘Building of the State’, the name referes to Peroutka’s book) It all started almost 2 years ago. Our partner NGO NasiPolitici.cz started to think about putting the…
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Hakuna My Data: NBO Data Bootcamp

30 January 2012

Written by
  • friedrich

This post is by Friedrich Lindenberg, developer on OpenSpending. “My Name is XXXX, I am a member of the Kenyan parliament for the constituency of XXXX in the 2007-2012 election cycle. During my time in parliament, I have positioned myself against taxes for MPs. Of…
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Updates from the OpenSpending Dev Team

23 January 2012

Written by
  • friedrich

What are we focusing on this week?

Working on implementing Collections <- draft notes, beware. Prototyping the Compar-o-tron Mockup 1, Mockup 2. Continuing work on Embeddable widgets for Spending Stories.


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Transparency and technology in Brazil: linking politicians to bad entrepreneurs

23 January 2012

Written by
  • fabiano

This story by Fabiano Angélico, who formerly worked at Transparencia Brasil, is about how technology and the help of coders can be used to highlight links between politicians and corrupt entrepreneurs. It is followed by a brief “Behind the News” interview which shows some of…
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Open Bookkeeping: What role can accountants play in Open Spending & Budget Projects?

17 January 2012

Written by
  • lucy

The next OpenSpending online community meeting will take place on Thursday, 19th Jan - 6pm GMT. The topic Accountants spend their entire working lives mapping the money: How can their expertise be put to good use in Open Spending Data projects? What interesting initiatives are…
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Civil Society and Spending Data: Who is mapping the money?

12 January 2012

Written by
  • lucy

This post is by Lucy Chambers, Community Coordinator on the OpenSpending project at the Open Knowledge Foundation. The post is cross-posted on the Open Knowledge Foundation blog. We’re excited to announce that, thanks to the generous support of the Open Society Foundations, OKFN’s activities around…
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Data = Seized, Sanitised and Sanity-checked. Open Data Day 2011

12 December 2011

Written by
  • mark

This post is by Mark Brough, Research Officer at Publish What You Fund, Lucy Chambers, Community Coordinator for OpenSpending, and Irina Bolychevsky, Product Owner for CKAN. It is cross-posted on the OpenSpending Blog and the Open Knowledge Foundation Blog and Mark Brough’s contribution is also…
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How Spending Stories Spots Errors in Public Spending

05 December 2011

Written by
  • martin

This article was originally published on MediaShift Idea Lab and was co-written by Martin Keegan, project lead for Spending Stories and Lucy Chambers, Community Coordinator for OpenSpending. How public funds should be spent is often controversial. Information about how that money has already been spent…
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28 November 2011

Written by
  • lucy

This post is by Lucy Chambers, Community Coordinator on OpenSpending. On Friday, the Guardian Poverty Matters blog published a piece on the Uganda visualisation that the OpenSpending team had been working on with Publish What You Fund. From the article “The Publish What You Fund…
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OpenSpending v0.11 Released

16 November 2011

Written by
  • friedrich

We are happy to announce the release of the latest version of OpenSpending. Most of our work has been to improve how we store and or organise spending data. Users will notice that the web frontend has been refreshed and is now much better integrated….
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New Translation Documentation for OpenSpending

11 November 2011

Written by
  • lucy

There’s been a lot of demand for us to document the translation procedure for OpenSpending, so this is now up and live on the wiki For reference, I’ve also briefly included the steps here: In order to translate OpenSpending, please follow the following steps: Create…
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Thoughts from the Global Investigative Journalism Conference

27 October 2011

Written by
  • lucy

This post is by Lucy Chambers, community coordinator at the Open Knowledge Foundation, and Friedrich Lindenberg, Developer on OpenSpending. They recently attended the Global Investigative Journalism Conference 2011 in Kyiv, Ukraine, and in this post, bring home their thoughts on journalist-programmer collaboration… The conference The…
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Uploading Data to OpenSpending

20 March 2011

Written by
  • lucy

The amount of datasets that are available on OpenSpending.org are growing fast and we want more! Currently the process looks like this: You give us data. We look at it, try to understand it, possibly ask you some more questions. We write a custom loader…
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‘Where Does My Money Go?’ Goes international. Welcome to OpenSpending.

01 March 2011

Written by
  • friedrich

This post is by Friedrich Lindenberg, one of the developers working on OpenSpending. Our primary goal has to be to grow WDMMG as an open platform, similar to Open Street Map: while on OSM you sketch out your local streets, WDMMG should become the place…
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