Earlier this year, Cook County released “Look at Cook,” a budget visualization tool to help citizens understand how the county spends taxpayer dollars. As the site says, residents “keep asking, ‘Where exactly does our money go?’” Look at Cook attempts to help answer that question with spending breakdowns by area and year, as well as comparisons between expected and actual budgets.
Today, the team behind Look at Cook — Derek Eder and Nick Rougeux — opensourced the code behind the app, making it freely available to any other jurisdiction interested in deploying it. As Elder explained to Alex Howard on the O’Reilly Radar, “…we decided to use free tools like jQuery for front-end functionality and Google Fusion Tables to house the data.” The code is available on GitHub under an MIT license, and they are in the process of adding documentation.
We’d love to hear if any other cities, states, or counties were interested in using the app, or if they are using other tech for budget transparency. Let us know in the comments.