Thursday, January 2, 2014

Visualizing e-procurement tenders with a bubble chart

A few weeks ago we started gathering data from the Greek e-procurement platform through DEiXTo aiming to build an RSS feed with the latest tender notices and in order to provide a method to automatically retrieve fresh data from the Central Electronic Registry of Public Contracts (CERPC or “Κεντρικό Ηλεκτρονικό Μητρώο Δημοσίων Συμβάσεων” in Greek).  For further information you can read this post. Only a few days later, we were happy to find out that the first power user consuming the feed popped up:, a popular search engine indexing all public documents uploaded to the Clarity website.

    So now that we have a good deal of data at hand and we systematically ingest public procurement info every single day, we are trying to think of innovative ways to utilise it creatively. They say a picture is worth a thousand words. Therefore, one of the first ideas that occurred to us (and inspired by, we thought it would be nice to visualize the feed with some beautiful graphics. After a little experimentation with the great D3.js library and puttering around with the JSON Perl module, we managed to come up with a handy bubble chart which you may check out here:

    Let's note a couple of things in order to better comprehend the chart.
  • the bigger the budget, the bigger the bubble
  • if you click on a bubble then you will be redirected to the full text PDF document
  • on mouseover a tooltip appears with some basic data fields
    The good news is that this chart will be produced automatically on a daily basis along with the RSS feed.  So, one could easily browse through the tenders published on CERPC over the last few days and locate the high-budget ones. Finally, as open data supporters we are very glad to see transparency initiatives like Clarity or CERPC and we warmly encourage people and organisations to take advantage of open public data and use it for a good purpose. Any suggestions or comments about further use of the e-procurement data would be very welcome!

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