Understanding government spending with data visualisation

Did you know, 69% of Queensland Government’s expenses cover health, education and transport services? And in 2015/2016, the Queensland Government raised $6 billion in revenue from selling goods and services?

Being able to view and analyse government financial information, like these facts, is important for government transparency and accountability. But pulling this information together is an enormous task.

Teresa Harding, Director Open Data Policy, said the Queensland Government has an enormous amount of financial data available to the public in many different formats. The real challenge is to find out what data and format is required.

For the latest round of the Advance Queensland Testing Within Government (TWiG) program, the Department of Science, Information Technology and Innovation (DSITI) submitted the challenge of creating a data visualisation tool for Queensland Government open data.

Truii presented their cloud based visualisation platform solution at the TWiG showcase in 2017

The TWiG program provides small and medium enterprises (SMEs) with the opportunity to collaborate with Queensland Government and solve business problems using innovative solutions.

DSITI wanted to give Queenslanders easy access to information about government funds and how it engages with the community through grants and contracts.

Local Brisbane company, Truii, provided a solution using their cloud-based data management, analysis and visualisation platform. During the 12 week program, Truii worked with DSITI and other government agencies to identify information sources and present this online. The result is an easy-to-use, interactive visualisation of Queensland Government financial statements, agency annual reports and other documents.

Truii Managing Director, Dr Nick Marsh said the project offered a good challenge for their platform, with data drawn from many sources.

“There were about 360 different sources of information, including many tables embedded in PDF documents, sourced from different locations around Queensland Government websites,” he said.

“We wanted to come up with a way to let the public interrogate this data and unwind the complexity of flow of state government finances.”

Truii worked with DSITI to develop a series of personas in order to focus on the ideal data visualisation end-solution.

The personas ranged from a journalist needing high-level numbers to back up stories to a builder interested in contract work.

The resulting interactive visualisation allows users to intuitively click through a comprehensive range of Queensland Government financial data and find what interests them.

The tool presents government information in an organised and central place in a way that’s not been achieved before, increasing transparency and improving data analysis capability.

Truii has also provided a user guide for maintaining, storing and publishing data to maximise benefits.

The Testing Within Government program provides small and medium enterprises with funding of up to $25,000 and the opportunity to collaborate with Queensland Government to solve business problems by using innovative solutions.

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Understanding government spending with data visualisation was originally published in Advance Queensland on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Last updated 25 Oct, 2019
Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Australia (CC BY-ND 3.0) ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/3.0/au/ )

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