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Visualizing budgets

OCAx displays dynamic budget graphs in two formats: pie and bar graphs. You can see an example here. The visualizations are not limited to Income and Spending alone, but other graphs such as Investment and Debt are also possible.

The graphs intend to show in an easy to understand way all income and spenditure, including each different classification: Initial data, budget modifications, trimester executions and comparisons between different years.

To create your own graphs, please follow this advise:

1.- Introduction - Summary

OCAx lets you visulaize can type of budgetary data (income, spenditure, investments y debt) including initial values, budget modifications and executions by trimester or yearly.

If you're setting up your own OCM, you might consider starting simple, and just work with the Initial budget values. Once you've become familiar with that, then move on to including executed budgetary information.

As we've just mentioned, both pie and bar graphs are available. You can change between one and the other using the icons in the upper right part of the page. (to the right of the 'Concept' and 'Code' search option and the 'Download data' icon). It's a good idea to play about with these graphs and become familiar with them.

Clicking on any segment of a pie graph we can access more information about the budget and list corresponding sub-budgets. The same can be done with the bar graph by clicking on the '+' next to each bar.

2.- Getting budgetary information.

What information should we be able to get from our Council to set up our website? The answer to the would be: the more the better.

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El mínimo de transparencia que se le debería exigir al ayuntamiento es el acceso al Expediente presupuestario completo, a las modificaciones presupuestarias y las ejecuciones con una frecuencia como mínimo trimestral. Sin embargo, no disponer de toda esta información no supone que no se pueda utilizar la que sí esté disponible y hacerla más accesible para la ciudadanía del municipio.

3.- Free a PDF and convert it to a spreadsheet.

All to often Administrations offer their information (if they even do), in closed formats like PDFs. It's important to get this information in open, workable formats such as the spreadsheet. If this isn't the case, the first job of the OCM is to free up this information by transforming it from a closed to an open format.

To do this, there are ac couple of options:

  • Copy the PDF and paste
    Sometimes it may be just a question of copying and pasting into a spreadsheet. After pasting, if it doesn't take much to fix up the pasted data, then this might be your best method. If the pasted text is unreadable or needs a lot of work to get it ready, then there are other options:
  • Use scraping software:
    When we talk about 'scraping' we're talking about methods or programmes designed specifically for converting closed formats to open ones. There are a few different types of programmes like this. We often use www.cometdocs.com (although there are others). After converting your data you will need to check it over and correct any errors you find because the conversion is never perfect.
  • Encrypted PDFs:
    Occasionally the PDFs have been created in such a manner that you cannot easily copy the data. In these cases the Administration is being specially opaque. The only option left to us is to manually read from the PDF and write the data in a spreadsheet (it can be a lot of work). Another approach is to covert the PDF into an image and then use OCR software to convert it (error prone).

4.- Preparing a CSV file to import into OCAx

To import budgetary information into OCAx we use CSV files that must be prepared in a specific way. To learn more about creating a CSV file, please read about our CSV format.

5.- Import a CSV into OCAx

OCAx runs a step by step wizard checking the CSV validity before importing the data into the database.

en/budget.txt · Last modified: 2015/08/08 17:45 by tuttle