Amadeus Consulting’s Coverage of the Tax Data Visualization Contest: Making Taxes Fun

by admin on May 11, 2011

Amadeus Consulting’s Coverage of the Tax Data Visualization Contest: Making Taxes Fun

How often can you say that taxes are fun? Not often unless you get a hefty return each year. However, the folks over at Eyebeam decided to make the ominous day in mid-April a bit more fun. They launched the ‘Visualize your Taxes’ challenge and many, many people applied. As a company that specializes in database development design and advanced data visualization, we found this to be fascinating. Here are some pictures of the winning entries:


Where Did My Tax Dollars Go?  Let’s say for the sake of fun I make ,000 a year. Using fun data visualization design, you can see a breakdown of where the money goes.


This one allows you to select the different pie pieces and get the dollar breakdown of where your taxes went. This visualization is cool; I was blown away by how much we spend on healthcare and national defense and not on Education and the like. However, I was not super blown away by the representation of data. While pie charts are great, they are not super innovative.


Finalists & Honorable Mentions

Here are some of the other finalists who conducted more innovative visualizations of taxes:


Budget Climb is REALLY cool and nerdy, and takes interactive data visualization to a new level. They created this using openFrameworks (an open source C++ toolkit) and the Microsoft® Kinect®, leveraging the recently released Kinect SDK. Here’s what they had to say about the custom software application:


Budget Climb is a physically interactive data environment where we can explore 26 years of federal spending – giving us a unique perspective on how our government spends our money. In order to explore the data we must exert physical effort, revealing how the budget is distributed in a novel and tangible way.”


We encourage you to visit their site and check out the video. Not only is this a cool example of data visualization and interaction, it is a testament to the power of the Kinect platform. We are looking forward to playing around with the SDK ourselves and seeing what kind of custom application development ideas we can come up with.


Online School’s version of tax visualization is a little different. They ask you to enter the amount that you make, and then rank your budget priorities from 1-10 (e.g. Education, Debt, Social Services, Health) and based on your priorities, it shows you how well it aligns with the actual 2010 US Budget. I got a 42% match based on my priorities. While the tool gave me a slightly depressing outcome (Apparently I don’t pay for my priorities), this model could be great for aligning priorities in a business situation.


Can I Get a Receipt with That? may be my favorite data visualization project of all of them because it shows taxes in an innovative and relatable way. You enter your income and it gives you a receipt-style breakdown of where your money went. However, the coolest feature is that can convert that amount into other things like Chipotle burritos or cans of Redbull. Those are numbers we can relate to. Check them out to find out how many cups of Starbucks coffee you pay to the government.


Database design, development and visualization are some of the many services that Amadeus Consulting conducts for our clients. Learn more about our unique approach to custom software development.

data visualization David McCandless turns complex data sets (like worldwide military spending, media buzz, Facebook status updates) into beautiful, simple diagrams that tease out unseen patterns and connections. Good design, he suggests, is the best way to navigate information glut — and it may just change the way we see the world.TEDTalks is a daily video podcast of the best talks and performances from the TED Conference, where the world’s leading thinkers and doers give the talk of their lives in 18 minutes. Featured speakers have included Al Gore on climate change, Philippe Starck on design, Jill Bolte Taylor on observing her own stroke, Nicholas Negroponte on One Laptop per Child, Jane Goodall on chimpanzees, Bill Gates on malaria and mosquitoes, Pattie Maes on the “Sixth Sense” wearable tech, and “Lost” producer JJ Abrams on the allure of mystery. TED stands for Technology, Entertainment, Design, and TEDTalks cover these topics as well as science, business, development and the arts. Closed captions and translated subtitles in a variety of languages are now available on, at http Watch a highlight reel of the Top 10 TEDTalks at
Video Rating: 4 / 5

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