Where do Our Taxes Go? Google and Eyebeam Launch Data Viz Challenge to Explain

The Internet is full of great data, but much of it is stuck in spreadsheet-like columns and simply hard to parse. Google and Eyebeam, a non-profit and technology center, want to raise the bar and just announced the launch of its Data Viz Challenge that will award a total of $10,000 to the best visualizations of the tax data provided by WhatWePayFor.com. According to Google, the goal of this contest is to “show everyone how data visualization can be a powerful tool for turning information into understanding.”

WhatWePayFor gives U.S. taxpayers an overview of where their tax money goes. While the site is packed with great information, it’s not exactly easy to read. Google and Eyebeam are looking for static and interactive visualizations that make this data easier to understand. The data is available through an API and the jury will award $5,000 to the winner on April 18, the day taxes are due in the United States.

With regards to visualizations, just a few days ago, Google also announced that its Public Data Explorer, which until now only worked with a pre-set array of data, now allows users to import their own data sets to visualize them. While not directly related to this contest, it’s clear that Google has a long-term interest in making it easier for individuals and organizations to create better data visualizations.