Software Firm Borrows ProPublica’s Stimulus Data
Who said stimulus reporting never pays? The Hive Group, a Texas-based software firm, has used our breakdown of the stimulus bill's appropriation provisions to advertise its tree-mapping product. Software they sell promises to graphically organize data, from stimulus provisions to iTunes music.
Their stimulus bill "tree map" is actually pretty cool. You can filter by program size, and quickly find out that only eight programs will cost more than $10 billion. You can view provisions by category and instantly determine that the inspector general for the Department of Agriculture gets a bigger stimulus bonus than his counterpart at the Department of Transportation, even though Transportation must disburse the biggest chunk of spending. Etc.
Thanks to the Voice of San Diego for pointing it out. The Hive Group apparently called David Washburn, the news Web site's senior writer, to ask him to identify some sources. (The reporter did not divulge the sources). But the call led him to find the nifty chart. Oh, and thanks to the Hive Group for identifying its source: us.
Update: The Hive Group just called us back. One of the company's vice presidents stumbled across ProPublica's stimulus data set while reading news stories about the bill. They threw it into a tree map, and posted it to the site. "I could not believe what happened to our site that day," Jim Bartoo, the company's CEO. Their traffic doubled, Bartoo said.
Officials have struggled to spend the nearly $800 billion stimulus package quickly and effectively.