Budget Fadeaway: Every line item in the White House’s 2016 Budget Proposal, Interactively Visualized

Budget Fadeaway is my latest large-scale data visualization project, you can explore it yourself here.

Quick instructions:

  1. hover over a square to see the item subcategory, account name and expenditure amount,
  2. drag & drop to pan
  3. scroll wheel or pinch to zoom
  4. search for a word or phrase contained in the line item using the search box on the upper right.

Also, it works much better on desktop – mobile is a little funky.


For the first time ever, the White House open sourced the raw data files for its 2016 budget, allowing citizens to explore the proposal in more depth than ever before. You can get high-level summaries of the budget in many places – including the White House website. But executive summaries are a form of lossy compression: I prefer gritty, raw, piercingly high resolution.

The goal of Budget Fadeaway is to let you experience the scale and explore the role of the federal government. So, have fun – or panic if that’s your style – and feel free to comment below or tweet me @anthonygarvan.

Unlike most of my other projects, this one does not involve any machine learning: it’s just a plot of all the data where the area of the item is proportional to the dollar amount of the line item. The position of the items is not meaningful: I just used a bin packing algorithm with fixed spacing to give it a layout that I thought was attractive and clear. To handle such a high number of points, the front end is built off of a high performance 2D game engine, pixi.js. All of the code is available on github.


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