City Budget Navigator
The City Budget Navigator was a project proposed as part of Toronto’s participation in both the International Open Data Hackathon and the Random Hacks of Kindness 2.0 (RHoK), both of which occurred simultaneously on December 4 and 5, 2010.
The goal was to “Create visualization tools to help citizens navigate the City of Toronto’s $9.2 billion operating budget”.1
The timeline was particularly fitting due to the timeframe for the City of Toronto’s 2011 budget schedule was slated to begin in mid-January 2011. The aim was to create proof-of-concept visualizations to demonstrate value in releasing the city’s budget data in a machine-readable and public format to help foster civic engagement with the budget process.
The project was inspired by both the London, Ontario initiative to create a public London City Budget API and the spending review tool created by guardian.co.uk, a world-leading online newspaper owned by The Guardian.
This project was not just a software development challenge. The approach was to scrape and parse PDF reports of the city budget, create or adopt a data schema and store this budget data, build a public API to access this data, and publish demo visualizations on how the data can be mashed and visualized.
This project has been effectively placed on hold. since mid-January.