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Friday, 13 June 2014

Oireachtas Foreign Parliamentary Travel 2014 Exhibit

The oireachtas has started releasing non-personal FOI records that journalist and other request to the public, including Foreign Travel Expenses, 1 January 2014 to 30 April 2014

The information was requested by the journalist Brian Byrne for the Independent on the 28th of April and was released to him the 26th of May and published publically on the Oireachtas website on the 28 May 2014. I havn't been able to find any story written on this yet. Its an interesting development a government body releasing the data to hte public before a jouranlist writes a story on it. Of course the journalist may have more talent in finding whats interesting in the data if anything. Oireachtas foreign travel has decreased significally since the boom. The total OFA for January 2014 to April is €72,741. The Decision Letter R801 points out that 95% of travel is economy class only using business class for 1 long haul flight to Japan. The Information note on Oireachtas Travel R801 describes the different committees that Oireachtas members travel abroad for.

Oireachtas foreign travel bill falls €250,000 in year Irish Independent 2009.

Gavin Sheridan of thestory.ie had done work on this before to get the Oireachtas expenses including foreign travel. It was very difficult to get useful data from the Oireachtas and when he eventually got it the amount was overwhelming to me, it might be easier to get now but still need to find a way to display the data meaningfully.

Also trying to cross check parliamentary travel with Seanad attendance record.

Oireachtas foreign Travel

Fine Gael5052,371
Fianna Fail1015,402
Sinn Fein81,930

I had been using MIT Exhibit 2 to disaply that data but googlemaps V2 is depreciated so I had to move onto Exhibit 3, works better but slightly less features. Exhibit 3 was funded by Library of Congress. with developement done by MIT Libraries, MIT CSAIL and Zepheira.

I had to use Scraperwiki tablextract to turn the PDFs into spreadsheet files, but the pdfs files the oireachtas provided still required manual re-arranging.

I've also begun to use < href="https://www.mapbox.com/">Mapbox's Geo for Google Docs Google Spreadsheets script along with Mapquests geocoding api. Mapping a Google Doc Spreadsheet.

Exhibit uses a form of the xml output url from a google spreadsheet to access that data (ATOM), but the new google spreadsheets don't provide that so I had re-use an old google spreadsheet. you may be able to use this link to revert to creating an old style spreadsheets

Oireachtas Foreign Travel data

International Parliamentary Bodies

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