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Oakland Gets A New Data Visualization Site for Its Budget

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Wednesday, April 17 2013

The civic hacking group OpenOakland unveiled a new budget visualization Web site called Open Budget Oakland Wednesday. The site enables visitors to visualize total department expenditures, the details of spending within each department, and their sources of funding. For now, the site presents budget data for the fiscal years 2011 to 2013. The group says it will incorporate Mayor Jean Quan and the city council's proposed budgets for 2013 to 2015.

The site emerged from a Code for Oakland hackathon last fall, and the goal of the project is to spark off more discussion about the city's budget among the public, the group said in a press statement.

"By enabling people to learn about and talk about the budget, we hope to promote understanding of how Oakland currently works, and dialogue about how it might work in the future," said Shawn McDougal, one of OpenOakland's founders. The group also said that it wants to work with local community groups on ideas for how they could make the best use of the visualizations.

OpenOakland's project follows another larger scale one in New York City. The second version of that project was unveiled by the city's Comptroller John C. Liu this January.