Toronto Budget “Hackathon”: Jul 20-21

(part of OKFN’s Global Weekend for Spending Data)

What is it?

OpenSpending.org is project of the Open Knowledge Foundation (OKFN), and is a platform for collecting, storing and analyzing government budgets and financial transactions.

The weekend of July 20-21, OpenSpending is encouraging local groups to organize “data parties,” to explore budget and spending data for their city, and share it through OpenSpending’s portal.

This event is open to anyone who’d like to contribute to adding City of Toronto budget and spending data (whatever’s publicly available) to the OpenSpending platform.

What will happen?

This is a small, informal event. We’ll spend some time exploring City of Toronto budget and spending data, learning about the OpenSpending tools and API, and taking a look at some of the projects that’ve come out of it. Then we’ll work on one or more projects using the Toronto data.

What kind of stuff will we actually be doing? Will my skills be useful?

The only thing that’s really required is an interest in budget/spending data. The point of the weekend is to learn — if we build something amazing, that’s a bonus. That said, some of the stuff we might do:
- Identify potential data sources, from the city’s website
- Translate data into usable formats, clean it up, and start exploring it
- Publish the cleaned up data
- Produce some visualizations
- Document what we do, including tips for future data explorers

What’s the point / what’s the context?

Frankly, it’s an excuse to find/meet others in Toronto who are interested in budget data, and learn together. But it’s also a bit of a “bridge” between Open Data Day (organized by Urban+Digital this past February), and Better Budget Day — which’ll be on October 19th, organized by Better Budget Toronto (an event that will be bringing together techies and policy wonks to work collaboratively to address the problems with Toronto’s budget).

Where and when?

Tentatively, the Centre for Social Innovation at 215 Spadina Ave. If you’re thinking of coming, though, please RSVP to gabe@pwd.ca, just in case the venue changes.

Saturday and Sunday, July 20-21 (2013), from 12:30pm to 4:30pm. Maybe it’ll go later — we’ll see how we feel.

I’ll be there! What should I do in advance to prepare?

Get familiar with the process to prep and add data to OpenSpending:
- http://openspending.org/help/data-loading.html
- http://openspending.org/help/data-cleansing.html

Look at what others have done with OpenSpending:
- http://openbudgetoakland.org/
- http://wheredoesmymoneygo.org/

Check out some Toronto data sources:
- http://toronto.ca/open
- https://wx.toronto.ca/inter/pmmd/callawards.nsf/posted+awards?openview

Read some of the stories on the OpenSpending blog:
- http://blog.openspending.org/

Read the Spending Data Handbook:
- http://openspending.org/resources/handbook/ch001_introduction.html

Who’s organizing this? Who should I contact if I have more questions?

Gabe Sawhney; gabe@pwd.ca

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One Response to Toronto Budget “Hackathon”: Jul 20-21

  1. Pingback: Wellesley Institute | A New Kind Of Community Engagement: Building A Better Budget For Toronto

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