BudgetApps - The First All-Russian Open Financial Data Competition

    Friends, under the sunset of the year 2014 and the beginning of 2015, there is great news for everyone who likes to work with open data, participate in competitions for developers.

    And also, I am sure that there are those who love history and historical data.

    Starting December 23, the Ministry of Finance of Russia, with our help from the Information Culture, has opened a BudgetApps http://budgetapps.ru/contest application contest on open data that the Ministry of Finance of Russia has published for the past few years. The data is very different. This data on budgets, data on audit organizations, government debt, government reserves and much more. Well, it turned out that my name is Ivan Begtin and I am a member of the jury of this competition. All of them are on the link on the Ministry of Finance website -

    And there is a lot of budget data on the Unified Portal of the budget system - http://budget.gov.ru/data/opendata there is a budget structure in CSV format, the data itself, directories and much more and much more. As well as data on all official institutions, here http://bus.gov.ru/public/opendata.html . Pay particular attention to this resource. There are published indicators, budgets, charters and much more for each state organization and municipal institution in Russia. If you are planning any regional project, then this data will be simply invaluable.

    This does not mean that you cannot use any other data, it is certainly possible and necessary, however, since this is a competition of the Ministry of Finance of Russia, it is of course expected that other data will be used along with these.

    I personally think that you should not be limited only to the data that has already been translated into machine-readable form. There is also data that you can turn into open data yourself.
    Many can write parsers, but for those who haven’t done this before, ScraperWiki ( https://scraperwiki.com/ ) can be a good help to collect information from pages, as well as different libraries for parsing Excel files, extracting tables from PDF documents - using pdftables.com or the Abbyy services or their Abbyy Finereader.

    On the site and other resources of the Ministry of Finance, in addition to data, there are many other interesting things that can be turned into data. Starting simply from news that has become especially relevant in recent days, continuing with everything else.

    Historical budgets

    There is a huge direction in the discovery of data that we have missed for so long - this is the direction of historical data. Those that are stored in archives in the form of large volumes of reference books with myriad tables and which are simply necessary at the moment when we begin to turn to history, referring to facts, creating special projects dedicated to any event.

    In the coming days, the first scanned budgets of the Russian Empire and the Soviet Union will be published. A little later, but also very soon, all scanned budgets of the Russian Empire, the USSR and the RSFSR will appear that exist.

    In addition to scans, the data itself will be published, converted to Excel and CSV tables, reconstructed from the directories in their original form and put in order by us for subsequent visualization or the project.

    Frankly, if I were not a member of the jury of this competition, I would personally have done a special project on this data. Or maybe I’ll do it again when the competition is over, or maybe someone will do it before me.
    The data of budget lists for several years are already ready, both primary data obtained from the texts of books, and processed and compared for different years.

    Therefore, historical data is about to be available soon, but for now you can begin to use the available ones and look at the public project “Historical Materials” ( istmat.info ), which contains many budget directories of the USSR and the Russian Empire.

    Where to find more data?

    What additional data sources do we have?
    1. Hub of open data - hubofdata.ru non-governmental registry of open data supported by NP "Information Culture". A lot of everything, more than 5000 data arrays, but everything is unofficial.
    2. Data of the Federal Treasury - http://roskazna.ru/opendata/
    3. Web services of the Central Bank of Russia - http://cbr.ru/scripts/Root.asp a lot of interesting data on Russian finances.
    4. The open data portal of Russia - http://data.gov.ru/ its benefit is that it aggregates a lot of Russian and not only data.
    5. World Bank data - where there is also information about Russia http://data.worldbank.org/
    6. UN data - http://data.un.org/

    And much more.
    I know that many people use data from Wikipedia and DBPedia, someone collects it themselves, and someone comes up with something of their own.

    What can be done?

    First and foremost, these are projects on the comprehensibility of public finances. Visually imagine how the budget or government debt or a particular area of ​​finance is arranged.

    Secondly, of course, an infinite number of projects can be done on data from bus.gov.ru.

    Want to make a registry of hospitals and compare them? They are all there.
    Do you want to compare all state universities with each other? And they are all there.
    Want to make a map of the availability of public services and such data is there.
    Want to visualize the budgets of Moscow State University, St. Petersburg State University, Moscow Engineering Physics Institute, MIREA or any of your favorite universities? And it is possible.

    And according to historical data - just to even visualize them and compare with what was and what is now - this is already a big and interesting task.

    Why is this needed?

    In addition to the opportunity to receive a completely material prize, and the prize fund is 400 thousand rubles, of course, this is not all. If the project turns out to be good and interesting, then, of course, it will be mentioned on the website of the Ministry of Finance and this in itself is additional advertising for any good project.

    How to take part?

    The competition began on December 23rd and its website is located at www.budgetapps.ru . There is all the description, several nominations. Description of how the jury will work and much more. Look, think, and of course ask me questions. I will answer here and directly write me an email - ibegtin@infoculture.ru

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