Governments around the world receive a lot of criticism and a lot of it has to do with citizens not knowing where their hard-earned tax-payer dollars are going. Over in the US, the White House has done something of the sort, releasing a map tool where users can easily see all the community-based programs it’s working on right across the country. It’s something that Australia can and should copy.
Yes, we can go through budget documents and publicly available data showing where tax-payer dollars are going, but nothing beats the simplicity of visualising the data on an easy to digest map. The White House’ new map tool, built in partnership with 15 US agencies, has got it so right. You can check it out here.
It’s built on an open source foundation, with the source code readily available on GitHub, and the White House has committed to providing regular data updates. It’s just a great way for the government to communicates all sorts of information to the people it serves. It will also alleviate some for the heat governments get for not being transparent enough with their spending.
It’s unlikely we’ll see this kind of initiative from the Australian Government any time soon. But it’s certainly nice to dream. Maybe a group of developers who are passionate about data and have a lot of spare time will want to make a map like this for Australia using publicly available information?