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Making big budgets understandable through visualization

17. September 2010 – 15:45 by Bengt Feil (TuTech Innovation GmbH)

One of the first steps in trying to open up the budgeting process is to present a communal, regional or even national budget into in way that is accessible for the average citizen. In most cases budgets are published as documents with hundreds of pages and enormous tables with number containing a bunch of zeros – which might be a hurdle for many people to join into a discussion about this important topic.

The German website (in German), built by Tactical Tools (“a network of enthusiast and experts”), tries to address this problem by presenting the federal budget of Germany in an interactive and intuitive fashion. The picture below shows the front page with each ministries budget presented in a different colour.


After clicking a budget (like in this case defense) the allocation of the budget to different areas and activities is shown in an easy to understand way. This way you can drill down into the budget to get a sense of its structure and how funds are used.


All data presented can also be exported in different standardized formats (JSON and XML among them) and all source data is also accessible. However there is also a sign for the need of more structured open data as the site is asking its visitors for hints to a machine readable version of the 2011 federal budget.

In summary this website is a great example of how to display complex numerical information in an accessible way. The ideas presented here could be integrated into eParticipatory budgeting processes to lower the barrier to entry for citizens or to help to introduce new audiences to these processes.

The Government 2.0 Camp 2010 in Berlin – Public administration eye to eye with Social media

8. September 2010 – 12:05 by Bengt Feil (TuTech Innovation GmbH)

On September 30st and October 1st Berlin will be the place to be for public servants, academics and all sorts of people active in the field of Government 2.0. After the very successful first Gov2.0 Camp last year the idea of an unconference aimed at bringing together Social Media experts and activists with public administration representatives has made its mark on Germany and consequently let to the organisation of the Government 2.0 Camp 2010.

The video below shows the Government 2.0 Camp 2009 and keeping the development in Germany since then in mind this year’s crowd will possibly be even bigger:

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Introduction to Open Data by Sir Tim Berners-Lee

29. April 2010 – 14:52 by Bengt Feil (TuTech Innovation GmbH)

Open access to government data is an important factor in modernising how government and democracy works and is closely related to the development of electronic forms of participation. Sometimes the discussion about Open Data is quite abstract or technical – but it does not need to be.

The six minute talk by Sir Tim Berners -Lee gives a short and passionate introduction to why Open Data matters and how it can be used to improve people’s lives:

If you got 15 more minutes at hand take a look at Mr. Berners-Lees talk on “the next Web” which also features the Open Data topic: Read the rest of this entry »

Open Data: the Guardian launches a database

24. January 2010 – 21:57 by Roberto Zarro

In connection with the launch of, the new British government website offering free access to a huge amount of public-sector data for private or commercial reuse, the UK Guardian has published the World Government Data Search, a search engine that collects datasets and other open data services provided by governments around the world. At the moment the service searches across the UK, US, New Zealand and Australian governments’ data sites. The Guardian published also a gallery of the 10 best mash-ups built on top of government data provided in the United Kingdom and a similar gallery dedicated to the experiences promoted in US, New Zealand and Australia