Hackathon #ODD 14 Barcelona

C. Catalan

On Saturday 22 February, International OpenDataDay, ODD, after the interesting  presentations we talked about on our previous post (and also after gulping a sandwich and a cup of coffee – thanks Brian and Marco!), opengov.cat coordinated a hackathon for the first time. It was in the great working space Makers of Barcelona.


A hackathon is a meeting of journalists, programmers and developers to work on a specific project. There were about twenty people and we suggested three challenges to make different information about our Public Administration and autonomous government of  Generalitat de Catalunya more accessible . We thought one or two would be chosen but our attendants’ skills were so great that they added a new challenge to our list and we ended up working on all our suggestions!


Challenge 1

Clean the dataset of  Generalitat  budget 2014 to include it on openspending.org , the free and open database of public financial transactions, and be able to visualize it.

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tuit 14_02_13

The budget of our autonomous government for 2014 had been released in a reusable format on the Generalitat opendata portal only a week before, and we had exchanged a few tweets about it even before their final version  was passed by Parliament on 23 January. (Translation: Hello, when will your budget dataset be available in opendata? – Will you post your budget 2014 on opendata? – We plan to publish it next week. Thank you – Which day next week? Thank you.)

tuit 14_02_14

(The budget is available on our opendata portal – Thank you very much for posting budget 2014)

We continue working with openspending.org  and, together with openkratio, we will soon contribute to launching  historiasdegasto.org, the Spanish version of spendingstories.org. All of them are projects of the  Open Knowledge Foundation.

Challenge 2

Enter senior official’s salaries and allowances on a spreadsheet so as to have it in a reusable format.

Captura de pantalla 2014-03-03 a la(s) 18.35.53

Such information started to be available in the Government and President section of the Generalitat transparency portal  in PDF format last summer, with no metadata about each file. It is not easy to use, but it is better than nothing: the story We’ve won the Grand Prize, 627.45 euros per month  derived from it.

Here in retribucions_README you can find the technical explanation about how and with which software the documents were cleaned.

Challenge 3

Familiarise ourselves with the  Generalitat 2014 budget dataset, the law that regulates them, the concept of chapters, items and other; compare it to the 2012 budget (extended to 2013), to see which concepts are no longer there and work out increases and decreases. Later I was given this interesting link  which clearly details everything, straight from the Catalan Public Administration School.

Captura de pantalla 2014-03-04 a la(s) 01.45.43

Each budget file has around 12k rows and over 25 columns. We didn’t know how to go about it and it is not easy if you aren’t an expert. As we aren’t, we looked for and found people who are… and they want to help us! Meanwhile, we review basic mathematical and statistical notions.

We are working on budget changes in different Generalitat organizations and we hope to be able to tell you more about it soon.

Challenge 4

A girl who attended the morning presentations stated: “I can only do maps. If I can help, I’ll stay for the hackathon.”  We quickly rummaged through what we had on ice at opengov.cat  and found a half-made map of the Generalitat Departaments buildings, with all the available (or non-available) contact information for each one: address, phone, webpage, email, twitter.

In many cases, a horrible form, one of those that ask for all your personal information but leave no trace of your information request, replaces the contact email. A form like this.

We had made the map some time before but we didn’t like its format, so it remained unpublished. The new one will be better and properly made, from a spreadsheet and using  cartodb software.

cartodb logo

Oscar Marín from Outliers gave us a workshop about how to make maps in a recent datajournalism session at the  CCCB that has now been posted here .

If you key in”periodismo de datos” and “2013” o “2014” in the search box, you’ll see the videos of all the sessions held since September 2013.

(PUBLICITY – In the first session, in  September 2013, we presented this project!)

Just an addition: Thanks everybody who organised, participated and helped (specially @doublebyte), and happy opendata!!