AidData is an awesome organization. It has built a lightning-fast application program interface (API) that exposes a massive amount of structured data about aid finance, projects, locations, and sources of funding. More broadly—and quoted from its Twitter bio—AidData, a research and innovation lab at the College of William & Mary, is “providing tools and services to make development finance more transparent and effective.” Its API is one incredible step toward that admirable goal.


To scratch the surface of this API, we built a super simple web app for the location-enabled project data. We are only using a tiny fraction of all data available from AidData. With some more work, we hope it will help us investigate past projects in areas where we work. The app is a little rough around the edges but we want to share it now and then upgrade it over the next few months.

To use it, just type a country name into the search box and click around the map markers to see more details.

When you enter a country into the search box, the app requests the location-tagged project data for the country. Many projects will not show in this response as AidData can only collect data that is easily available. Some of the project responses contain very little data, others contain lengthy text descriptions. You’re likely to find both as you click around the markers.

As for the technical details, the app runs completely in the browser. It uses an old-fashioned map layer from MapBox and some basic JavaScript for the API calls. We’ll put it in a proper open source repository once we’ve cleaned it up. Hopefully doing so will help us consider new features for the application. Stay tuned by subscribing here!