OpenSpending Community - Introductions


#1

This is a space for people to introduce yourself to the OpenSpending community here. Suggested items to cover - you can add whatever else you like:

  • Your name
  • Your background and current area of work
  • Your skills
  • Why you are interested in contributing

Comunidade do Gastos Abertos - introduções aqui
#2

@everton137 that might be useful for you and the OK Brazil community to ensure better coordination and make sure we address your questions


#3

Hello! That’s a good idea!

My name is Everton, but you can call me Tom. My background is physics, more precisely elementary particle physics (more precisely yet neutrinos - OK, I’ll stop here, since neutrino is a fundamental particle and Iǘ e never believed string theory - they still lack experimental proof!).

Now talking about open spending, I’ve been involved with web tools for collaborative production of knowledge since 2006, when I started working as a web developer on a social networking platform for sharing educational and scientific knowledge. Since then, I began to see, mainly in USA and Europe, open government projects and discovered the importance of open data.

It was how I discovered Open Knowledge (that time, Foundation) and began to get involved as a volunteer in project like Open Spending (that was 2010, I guess). I began also to participate of a community called Transparência Hackers in 2009, where at that time I missed in Brazil not for profit organizations like Sunlight Foundation or MySociety.

In 2011, I was invited to work for Open Knowledge Foundation and since then I didn’t stop to work on open (everything) projects around Open Knowledge in Brazil, which was incorporated about 2 years ago and now we have several projects, including open spending ones.

My collaboration is to give a solid organization in Brazil so that people can run projects like Gastos Abertos (we have a forum here!). And, for sure, to share and learn from this amazing network Open Knowledge International began to build more than 10 years ago!


May I visit to Open Knowledge office in UK?
Comunidade do Gastos Abertos - introduções aqui
#4

Hello!

My name is Hazwany Jamaluddin, you can call me Nany. I’m a human being like everybody here. I’m a citizen of worlds not citizen of the world. I am a local in Malaysia and Riau.

My academic backgrounds are applied statistics, applied mathematics and global marketing. I am a social activist and an independent local relief worker. So, my activism backgrounds mostly covers human rights at large and started around 2010 until today. My last relief mission was last year at the East Coast of Malaysia when the worst recorded flash flood hit the area.

Apart from that, I’m working professionally as a resident statistician and programme officer with Sinar Project. Sinar Project team have introduced me to the world of Open Source & Civic Tech and that’s how I discovered numerous international CSOs around the world that shares the common interest in the Culture of Openness. In Sinar Project, my area of work mostly touches on open data, communications (new media), lobbying law reform for internet security & privacy and coding for statistics/mathematics (still at learning process and mostly using SciPy etc). With the rest of team, I am also working on:

  1. Exposure and circumvention of government censorship and surveillance for at risk groups such as media, pro-democracy activists and other human rights organizations/movements.
  2. Government transparency that exposes corruption and possible abuse of power by politicians in power.

Skills:

  1. Social research & market research. Learned SPSS, MATLAB, MAPLE, LaTeX and SAS.
  2. Workshop facilitation.
  3. Advocacy with new media.
  4. Online gaming & board gaming (yes, I do consider these as part of my skills as well :grin:).

In the past from my academic years to employment (before I join Sinar Project), I was exposed with a lot proprietary softwares/tools that allows me to analyze & visualize data. Now, it’s going to be different. Open source provides a breath of fresh air for innovation, creativity and collaboration. Everyone in Sinar Project have recommended me to start contribute with Open Spending and embark my journey in the Culture of Openness from there. That is why I am interested in contributing with all of you here.


#5

Hi there,

I am a UCL student studying MSc Computer Science.

I am semi-technical with basic programming knowledge of Python, Java, SQL, HTML and CSS.

I worked for a startup called import.io where I was a data product manager, and also cofounded a startup called Weave.ai earlier this year.

https://www.linkedin.com/in/dhruvghulati

More background in my LinkedIn.

I am fascinated by open data and open knowledge, and have been engaging with OKFN in various forms, including a project in Switzerland involving politician accountability via NLP.

I am currently seeking a cool project in data science for my MSc due end of December, which would involve analysing some data and presenting a report of results and actions learnt.

Look forward to working together,
Dhruv


#6

@dhruv great to hear from you and we’ve definitely got some meaty problems you could help with.

The best example might be looking at the large dataset of UK spending and looking for patterns of and interesting visualizations. More background at: http://okfnlabs.org/blog/2013/04/11/quick-and-dirty-analysis-on-large-csv.html

/cc @danfowler


#7

Hello,

I thought I would drop a note here too.

My name is Carlos, and I am currently a Ms student in the University of Hawaii at Manoa where I work with Solar Forecasting for Renewable Applications (you see, energy is insanely expensive here!). I also have a hand in Software Engineering research. I am originally from Brazil, although this is not my first education in U.S. A little bit about them here if that looks interesting to you (http://carlosandrade.co)

I am currently collaborating with @everton137 who I reached out when I was curious on getting started with government Open Data in my home country, seeing all the mess is going there from afar. I have also a growing interest on learning more about Open Spending in U.S. and other countries, since it is an interesting topic to do data analytics and certainly feels more rewarding to reach conclusions on this field. From another perspective, specially in my country, I feel there is a lack of data analysts who could be doing something more with their skills there.

My skillset mainly roams in R and a bit of Python. I use Knit R and ggplot2 for a living to craft reports for my research advisors. Getting data, crunching, cleaning, creating graphs and some basic forecasting, clustering and social network analytics is my daily life here. I like the field, it helps me learn from a myriad of domains I would never dream of out of data needs. I am heading to a PhD afterwards to dig deep on the mathematics of probability models, information theory and thermodynamics (hopefully!), but I hope to keep my hands dirty on Government Open Data as an applied field afterwards, and therefore the reason why I am getting started now, 5 years ahead :slight_smile:

Is there a thread where people exchange ideas and thoughts on their own countries open spending initiatives? I was looking forward this kind of discussion. I noticed for example there has been some discussion in U.S. about a new beta platform for it’s spending: openbeta.usaspending.gov So it looks a fertile moment to exchange such ideas.


#8

Hi Carlos, it’s great to have you here :). You should definitely start this thread.

Given your technical skillset, here are some other ways to get involved in the next version of OpenSpending.


#9

------- cross-posted with openspending mailinglist ---------

Dear all,

I’m Anna Alberts from the Open Knowledge Foundation Germany, where I’ve been working on a new project called OpenBudgets.eu since April. Our goal is to develop a platform for European Budget and Spending Data.

Last week we brought together 30 budget and spending enthusiasts from across Europe. Our discussion focused on how data-driven approaches in advocacy, policy-making and journalism can lead towards a democratisation of fiscal information.

Personally, I cherished the opportunity to (re)convene people from countries as diverse as Albania, Ukraine, Netherlands and Spain. Across these countries, the past few years have established an exciting array of techniques to explain public policy to a wider audience, and to combat corruption.

Together with Cecile Le Guen from Open Knowledge International, we will be sharing the great projects that were presented during this workshop here on the forum and on the mailing list.

We invite you to comment, ask questions, and - most importantly - invite you to share the discoveries made in your own projects here as well.

Groetjes, liebe grosse, grosses bisses, ciao,

Anna


#10

#11

Hello!

My name is Joel Bradshaw, I have been doing software development for a decade now, currently in web development. I am a full-stack developer to various degrees, here are the basics, relevant to OpenSpending or not:

Frontend, lots of jQuery, a good bit of Angular, some React, dabbled all over the place. Bootstrap and jQuery UI on UI side.
Backend, most of my experience is in PHP, but have worked in all manner of things - Python (Flask, Pylons), a little Ruby, even some Perl back in the day.
Database, mostly MySQL/MariaDB, have touched on Postgres, various NoSQL (Mongo, Redis)
Sysops, worked with Linux, mostly Ubuntu, worked with Puppet, light Ansible, general deployment/sysadmin stuff

My design sense isn’t great, but I have a keen interest in data visualization, and love making good charts. I found you guys because I was lamenting the lack of a good way to break down and visualize the US federal budget - there’s lots of data, but it’s either lacking in detail or an absolute nightmare to use.

So before just striking out on my own project, I poked around and found OpenSpending, which seems like pretty much exactly what I was looking for and more. I’m happy to contribute wherever I can, I’ve been reading here and there to try to get caught up, but my main goal is what I set out to do - get up and running a way to explore the US federal budget. I love the idea of having it so generally applicable as well, so that efforts on one budget apply to all of them - the data import/standardization/etc seems like a stellar idea.

So I’ll keep poking around and hang out in the IRC channel, but if there are things that need doing that seem up my alley, by all means point me in the right direction!


#12

Hi @cincodenada and welcome!

There are plenty of opportunities right now to help build out the OpenSpending tooling. I suggest you jump on our Gitter account (our IRC is not too active anymore) and we can chat.

As a first step, it would be great to collate all the data you have, and we can help get it packaged up in Fiscal Data Package.