Data about public sector spending is often hard to understand and compare. Statistics about government is often presented in tables. In this hack I have used open data from Eurostat (the EU statistics agency) about government expenditure for a set of countries and rendered sets of boxes in a Minecraft world. This makes it possible to explore the data by walking (flying) around the world.

Boxes for expenditure data is ordered as General public services, Defence, Public order and safety, Economic affairs, Environment protection, Housing and community amenities, Health, Recreation culture and religion, Education, Social protection.

1. (top) Cows grazing near UK’s expenditure for “Housing and community amenities”.

2. Player is standing in front of government expenditure for Malta looking at Germany:

A 3D view in Minecraft showing the tiny boxes representing Malta’s budget in fron of Germany’s.

3. Overview of Germany, France, Italy and UK: Player is standing on top of Germany’s General government expenditure looking at the budget of France.

Future ideas include rendering budget deficits as holes in the ground and making it possible to enter boxes to see subdivisions. Data for Greece should be rendered in lava I guess.

This hack was made possible by using the pymclevel library by David Rio Vierra.

Source data: Eurostat - General government expenditure by function (COFOG) 2010.