Mapping Corruption

Estimates vary, but roughly 3 billion Euros evaporate from the government budget of small central European country each year because of corruption. That is around 40 regular Airbuses that fly away and never return. Each year. Getting angry while holding a glass of beer is a folklore, but real action is rarely taken. I got together with one watchdog from Prague and one developer and we tried to add our little bit to the game.

    The challenge

The idea was to create an online tool, that would streamline the workflow for watchdogs, investigative journalists, non-profits and other anti-corruption initiatives. In principle, it is a database that interlinks structured entries on corruption on multiple levels. Together with certain analytical tools it provides deeper and broader insight into causes of corruption. Causalities were also planned as a platform for sharing information from various sources. The main potential of the project is the possibility to unveil contextual bonds of apparently unrelated people, events or causes.

    The result

The vast majority of work that has been collaboratively spent on this project is, sadly, invisible. We spent hundreds of hours discussing the intent of the entire concept, writing grant applications, trying to get funding, support and feedback. We consulted the project with experts from Anticorruption Endowment, Our State initiative, Transparency International and couple other people from anti-corruption environment even on an international level. Architecture of the database, concepts of relation and time-based visualization as well as analytical functions were gradually taking shape. So did plans on how to legally run, protect, update and expand the project in the future. We even founded a civic association for this reason.

While only 0.0004% of what is taken by the tentacles of corruption every year would have been sufficient to bring the basic version of this project to life, and despite all the efforts, we did not manage to get any funding. And since this project scoped well over free time shifts, we had to bite the bullet and put Causalities to rest. Yes, it sucked then and still sucks...

The only working piece of the machine was a basic and limited prototype that visualized testing dataset for the purposes of updating and exapnding the first stage database. The dataset was based on the Map of Czech corruption published by the NFPK.