Opening Parliaments In Beautiful Visualizations

Opening Parliaments In Beautiful Visualizations

Our friends in the Opening Parliament community have been busy this Fall, and are anticipating the Open Government Partnership (OGP) annual conference  at the end of the month. We’ve been impressed by several projects that mashup accountability mechanisms with strong data visualizations, and are highlighting them below. For a full review of parliamentary monitoring accomplishments, find more news crossposted on the Opening Parliament blog.   

In the Czech Republic, a Czech and Slovak parliamentary monitoring organization,, has worked to visualize complex parliamentary information through social network analysis. Their visualizations demonstrate how often individual MPs sponsor bills and the collaboration relationship with other MPs (image at right). also shines in their use of Sankey Diagrams, a flow chart using arrows, to visualize the legislative process. They take a look at Governmental and State Budget bills, and represent the progress of bills through streams, where various steps are indicated and the width of the stream corresponds to the quantity of bills. 


In Argentina, a number of CSOs, including Directorio Legislativo, Poder Ciudadano, and Asociación Civil por la Igualdad y la Justicia (ACIJ) have partnered with La Nacion to launch an interactive website revealing the financial statements of MPs, public officials, and judges.


Also in Argentina, Hacks/Hackers Buenos Aires built a visualization news app that helps people understand Argentina’s National Congress and the degree of each candidate’s allegiance to their party. Using colors to identify each political bloc, they enable viewers to see how legislators were grouped for various votes and understand the composition of Congress and which bloc approved or rejected each issue.  

We’re always on the look out for compelling ways to visualize political processes and outcomes, hopefully making complex data more simple. With the attraction of simplifying complex flows, we recognize that accurate visualizations start with careful research, comparative analysis and an understanding of the political incentives and structures in order to maximize the effectiveness of open data approaches (see more from our colleagues on Open Data here).