OpenSpending Monthly Update, November 1, 2016


OpenSpending is one of Open Knowledge International’s current projects. It is a free and open platform for citizens looking to track and analyze public fiscal information globally.

We are starting a series of monthly updates covering OpenSpending. Read below for activities and highlights in the last few months.

##The community is working with the new OpenSpending tools
During September 13-14 at a Fiscal Portals Workshop organized by the Global Initiative for Fiscal Transparency, we delivered a presentation and organized a half-day OpenSpending upload session. The overall goal of the workshop was to familiarize representatives of Ministries of Finance from several countries with the implementation strategy, contents and operation of successful Fiscal Transparency Portals. CSO and government representatives from Indonesia, Paraguay, Uruguay, Brazil, Benin, Vietnam, South Africa, Philippines and others learned about and tested the Open Fiscal Data Package and the OpenSpending tools.

##Mexico became the first country to endorse the Open Fiscal Data Package
In early September, Mexico became the first country to formally adopt the Open Fiscal Data Package, an international open data standard promoted by the Global Initiative for Fiscal Transparency (GIFT), in collaboration with Open Knowledge International and the World Bank, with the support of Omidyar Network. This collaboration is a pioneering step for publishing fiscal information in open formats. Mexico set an example to OpenSpending community who are intending to make use of the Open Fiscal Data Package and the new tools. Read more here.

##OpenSpending presented at the IODC2016 in Madrid
At the International Open Data Conference in Madrid in October, OpenSpending was presented by Open Knowledge’s German Chapter as part of OpenSpending’s collaboration with In the session “Data and Budget”, Anna Alberts (Project Manager, OKFDE) spoke about how to make sense of multiple budgets by using data integration tools for budget and spending data.
OpenBudgets is an EU funded project that will provide an overview of public spending, as well as tools and appropriate data and stories to advocate and fight for fiscal transparency.

##OpenSpending Labs Hangout
On October 25, 2016, the OpenSpending team conducted a Labs Hangout. The event recording is available here.

##Tech news

  • We added an administration console - OS Admin. This new app allows users to review their uploaded datasets, choose whether each dataset is publicly visible. Re-editing the mapping of each dataset is also possible, thus reducing greatly the iteration time for users.

  • In order to support different data types and sources, besides the common CSV file (e.g. Excel files, Google Spreadsheets and more) we introduced the FDP Adapter Service. This service provides an extendable set of modules for converting many file formats into Fiscal Data Packages. This allows users to upload these different file types to OpenSpending.

  • In our road to make OpenSpending the most up-to-date and comprehensive source for fiscal data, we needed a method to scrape and upload this data automatically. Therefore we developed a new infrastructure for building scraping and processing pipelines for tabular data - the Data Package Pipelines framework. This framework is already be the basis for our work on collecting EU cohesion funds data and supporting continuous updates with the Mexican MoF.

  • Earlier this year we released the latest version of the Fiscal Data Package Specification (version 0.3). Feel free to peek inside at the new location for the spec:

##Recent blog posts:

  • Have you tried the new, updated OpenSpending tools yet? Take a look at OpenSpending Packager, OpenSpending Viewer, API etc. Read about the Alpha launch earlier this year here.

  • The Open Fiscal Data Package is part of our work towards “Frictionless Fiscal Data” where users of fiscal information – from journalists to researchers to policy makers themselves – will be able to access and analyze government data on budgets and expenditures, reducing the time it takes to gather insights and drive positive social change. Learn more about the OFDP in this blog post.

  • While the OpenSpending team was busy revamping the platform over the last year we have been fortunate to have a community of users actively involved in testing the new tools. Read more here.

  • “Open Spending Data in Constrained Environments” is a project being lead by Sinar Project in Malaysia aimed exploring ways to of making critical information public and accessible to Malaysian citizens. Read more about their work here.

Do you have any updates for the community? Contribute a blog post on open fiscal topics or a small update for the next newsletter. Let us know at

To browse existing datasets and to upload your data, visit OpenSpending. For questions, OpenSpending team is available via OpenSpending discussion forum, on in the OpenSpending chat room, or on the OpenSpending issue tracker.

OpenSpending Monthly Update (beginning of December 2016)