OpenSpending Explorer

The OpenSpending Explorer is a Javascript app that allows users to explore and discover the data available via the OpenSpending API.

Using the Explorer, users start with a question, or an idea of the type of data they want to see, and use familiar search and form interfaces to discover that data in the OpenSpending database.


  • Search over all data packages in an OpenSpending instance.
  • See result sets related to search queries.
  • Navigate through to detailed views on data packages.


You need to have a recent version of Node.js (v5 and above) to run the Explorer.

If you are not too familiar with Node, do not worry about that. The Explorer is almost completely a frontend Javascript app, with Node.js providing a simple shell and some conveniences for routing and setting environment variables.

The UI is written with Angular 1.


The Explorer can be installed as a component of the Platform, or as a stand alone component.

Which installation method should you choose?

  • If your goal is to get a full instance of OpenSpending running, then go ahead with the platform installation.
  • If you just want to hack on the Explorer (Suggest new features! Fix bugs!), or even run your own Explorer against a remote OpenSpending platform, then follow the standalone install.

If the options are confusing, then go ahead with the standalone install. By default, it runs against the Open Knowledge International instance of OpenSpending, so you'll immediately have lots of data to interact with.

Platform install

Follow the instructions for installing a development environment for the OpenSpending platform here.

Standalone install

Follow these steps to get the Explorer running:

# get the code
git clone

# install dependencies
npm install

# build the frontend assets
npm run build

# run the tests
npm test

# run the server
npm start

# load the app in your default browser

Based on the default configuration of the Explorer, you can now work with the entire OpenSpending database hosted by Open Knowledge International from your local machine. If you want to point to a different OpenSpending instance, configure your environment variables accordingly based on the details below.


Environment variables

OpenSpending Explorer is configured using environment variables. The following variables are available:

  • TBD

Contributing code

Found a bug? Got neat way to refactor an existing code path? Bursting with ideas to make OpenSpending more awesome?

We can't wait to see your contributions. Here are a few things that will help:

  • All open issues for the Explorer can be found here, labeled "Explorer". If you are working on an existing issue, please let us know by commenting on an issue. Likewise, if you are working on something new, open an issue to let us know.
  • We follow a set of coding standards, and we have simple examples of those coding standards implemented for Python and Javascript. Please do read before starting.

If anything is unclear, or you just want to talk with other people working on OpenSpending, then catch us on