A blog about things that interest me, politics, news, media, architecture, development, environment, local history, secularism, web, dublin ireland, tara

Contact me at expectationlost@gmail.com

Sunday 1 November 2009

Government aircraft travel of Irish ministers 2009 exhibited, mapped, timelined, listed and editable.

This screen shot shows an exhibit of Irish Government Ministers travel on Government aircraft in 2009 using this data using Ken Foxe's Freedom Of Information Requests.

2008 finished

Made with Exhibit from MIT which...

Exhibit enables you to create html pages with dynamic exhibits of data collections without resorting to complex database and server-side technologies. The collections can be searched and browsed using faceted browsing. Assorted views are provided including Timelines, tiles, maps, and more.
You can copy examples from the Exhibit wiki and simile mailing list.

                        ex:label="Birth Places with Photos"
                        ex:center="38.479394673276445, -115.361328125"

...calling the named columns from the google spreadsheets.

The source
Ken Foxe of the Sunday Tribune has been requesting information (FOIs) about government minister's travel and particularity noticed the excessively costly travel arrangements of John O'Donoghue the Ceann Comhairle (also when he was Minister for Tourism). Because of his and others journalism and rather then justify the costs he resigned as chair of the Irish house of parliament (Dail) in October 2009.

The change
Ken Foxe in a very unusual move for a professional journalist has shared the raw information he got in his FOI's with the public. The information from the Ministerial Air Transport Service is voluminous so with more eyes and perhaps my exhibit of the information in a more visual and manipulatable manner we can comprehend more of what politicians are doing with our government resources. He used FOI'd government aircraft travel data to write ...Living on our jet plane, at a cost of €10.6m (18 Oct 2009, Sunday Tribune).

TRANSPORTING government ministers aboard the government jet over the past four years has cost the taxpayer more than €10.6 million.

Figures from the Department of Defence show that the €7,890-an-hour Gulfstream IV jet has been in use for 1,214 hours since the beginning of 2006. The government's Learjet – the running costs of which now come in at almost €3,000 an hour – has been in the air for 826 hours at a cost of €1.89 million.

...continue reading at tribune.ie

MIT Exhibit
I modified the Presidents Births and Death example of which you can see it's simple JSON file. You can use MIT's Babel to convert your data to JSON or XML (create live XML with editgrid.com) or any exhibit friendly form.

Ken's FOI data
Using the spreadsheets he then re-published Ken Foxe's Gov aircraft use FOI's eg. Ministers Air Travel - 2009 Jan - Oct (Scribd doc).

Mats - 2009 Jan - Oct

My Data
I rearranged it into this google doc file with labels so that the Exhibit script can read it as JSON. How to make an exhibit from data fed directly from a Google Spreadsheet

Use Define groupings and calculations to calculate personal totals
Used Batch geocode for the locations and Notepad ++ and jEdit some basic excel/google spreadsheet macros and functions. And converting dates to the right format.

The exhibit
You can pick out any element or facet of the info from the list on the left, the central tag cloud, the timeline, map or Flight time slider below the map, deselect it by un-checking on the sidebar list or use your browser's back button. You can zoom into the map under Ireland or Europe or view the Details of the trips in a table.

Your help
I need to add the purpose of the trip and a contemporaneous news article to give them fair context. Anyone can help me to do that by going to the google spreadsheet and editing the 'purposeoftrip' or 'contexturl' and 'urllabel' columns for each row/trip. I also need fill in the unnamed Ministers of State in the person column.If there is a another way to arrange the data to make it more comprehendable by people please suggest it.

I need to display the helicopter trips better.Working on it here to add polylines extension of exhibit made by www.werelate.org code changes

Its pity there no way to batch search, so I could quickly find why Mary Harney was in Helsinki and Michael maritin went to New York in July.

Want to do 2008
2008 MATS spreadsheet FOI'd by Ken Foxe
via scribd.
JSON base file
MATS 2008 Exhibit

To do
I need to figure out functions to add up totals...

I'm also working on a politicians constituency map and TD/Dail diary similar to the above.

The Story
A couple of young (ish) journalists have set up thestory.ie to gather and release data about Irish politics for crowd sourcing and crowd reviewing. Gavinblog and Mark Coughlan have, as have I, been inspired by the work of projects like the UK's mysociety.org in opening up shared data resources for citizen journalism. They are working towards creating an Irish version of whatdotheyknow.com, which makes it easier to request and share 'Freedom of Information' requests. Another MySociety project created a more accessible and manipulatable parliamentary record called Theyworkforyou, programmer John Handalaar has already created a version called kildarestreet.com for the Irish parliamentary debates.

The visualisations
I have taken some of thestory's spreadsheets of data and made visualisations (I'll describe how in another blog post).

A visualisation of donations to parties by-industry using Tree Map's via Manyeyes and Google Docs. Visualised Liam Carroll's Corporate Structure, a more dynamic ZVTM version of LC companies
Minister for Finance for Ireland Brian Lenihan's Diary during the financial crisis, in google calendar form, in SIMILE WIDGET timeline form.

APIs, feeds and linked data
I had been using some of the above methods to follow the Howth Malahide council elections and hope improve with use of RDF and XML and geocoded feeds. With free collaboration and document sharing sites, RDF and XML and feeds and API's its becoming easier for non-programmers to serve, slice and link data.

Another Irish Journalist Mark Tighe is releasing data for his Sunday times articles
Guardian Open Platform.
Batch geocoding addresses.
Sunlight Labs the tech development of open government US.
The sunlight centre for open politics UK.
Zoho: Document collaboration site To do
The coder behind werelate.org has created some extensions exhibit pedi maps to make connection icons on the map. I think you havve to put the whole system on your own host, which when I manage to add it I can use to connect flight.