by Achilleas Galatsidas

A handy data visualisation tool based on data drawn from declarations of wealth and assets (pothen esches) submitted by party leaders, ministers, MPs and MEPs.

The data is extracted from the Hellenic Parliament website in pdf format, automatically read and subsequently stored in a database created for the application. Wealth Observer is updated every year to coincide with public officials’ annual asset/wealth disclosures.

The application visualises different types of assets, income, deposits, investments, real estate, debts and shareholdings of politicians. Users can draw comparisons between politicians and political parties or visit a politician’s profile and monitor their assets in detail.

“The project was initiated by a personal need to see this data visualised and was fed by the need to contribute as much as I could using technology and data visualisation to control corruption of politicians by journalists and citizens. All this huge amount of data was essentially hidden as it was very difficult, if not impossible, to study and analyse thoroughly some tens of thousands of pages of huge tables. My aim was to bring this data to light.”

Achilleas Galatsidas, Interactive developer, Journalist

Various filters are available to facilitate a broader interpretation of the data, including the “view by type of income” feature (which can identify politicians who receive income from donations, etc.), as well as the “add or remove parties”, and the “view data from previous years” features. When it comes to investments, users are given the option to search for a specific type of security, while in the case of loans, the data is filtered by creditor.

It is also possible to search for a politician by name or by constituency, as well as to select one or more politicians that the user can follow over the years.

The application was created to enable citizens and journalists alike to explore, process and analyse MPs and MEPs’ assets over the years, in order to draw conclusions, discover patterns, exercise more effective control and ultimately uncover corruption.