Data Transparency Director Renata Maziarz and Senior Policy Analyst Justin Marsico from the Treasury Department’s Bureau of Fiscal Service discuss their new data visualization tool, and how to make complex information easily accessible to the public.
While federal open data initiatives allow the public to look at the results of government research and spending, they aren’t typically user-friendly. To make reading the released information easier, the Treasury Department’s Bureau of Fiscal Service recently unveiled the Data Lab, a visualization tool on their website that breaks spending data down into comprehensive graphs. “USASpending.gov and the Data Lab essentially allow the citizen, the average user, to drill down into what is traditionally thought of as accounting data so they can understand how the federal dollars are spent in their communities and in their districts,” said Renata Maziarz, director of Data Transparency at the Bureau of Fiscal Service. “What we have tried to do with picking our analysis is to find different parts of our data. We have three pieces of our data from a high level. One is data on federal accounts. That’s how agencies spend their money… we also have details on government contracts and government financial assistance,” said Justin Marsico, senior policy analyst at the Bureau of Fiscal Service. “Each of our visualizations tries to pick one of those areas and explore it and show why it is interesting.”