Birthplace Mapper Update

Cool map alert!

For those who don’t know, mapping is cool!. Realized this for the umpteenth time as I finally got back to the player birthplace mapper I premiered a few weeks back. After a few hours wrestling with SQL code, and then overcoming a brain cramp on a data formatting issue, I think I’ve managed to get a 99% solution, with a high level of wow! factor thrown in. The remaining 1%, by the way, concerns some players who were apparently born in the ocean, at least according to the geo coordinates in my possession. I’ll get those fixed shortly, but in the meantime, have a look at the improved mapper.

Some of the missing pieces from my first run at this have been repaired – players born outside the US now have information that pops up when you mouse over their map marker. This is a major improvement over the hundreds of blanks the original attempt contained. The info boxes are also tied to the level of information available, thanks to the aforementioned SQL. There were no fewer than 16 combinations of available and missing information across country, state, city, birth year, debut, and name fields in the database. This makes for a rather interesting bit of database code, but you need not worry about that when you view the map. That headache belongs to me!

Kudos again to the Cloudmade project and its flexible mapping offshoot Leaflet. These apps are highly recommended for creating flexible, professional looking maps using GeoJSON (KML works too) and javascript. The speed and interactivity of these maps is spectacular, and there are many features I haven’t even figured out yet. Watch out when that happens!

.A final thanks for the inspiration and clustering approach (the cool stuff that happens with the markers when you zoom in or out) to Dave Leaver, who created the original map using this approach.

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Ken Cherven is the Founder and Curator of the website. He loves to merge baseball data with all sorts of visualization methods - charts, network graphs, maps, etc. to provide greater insight into underlying data patterns. Ken also authors books about baseball and visualization, and loves to listen to jazz while drinking some wine, craft beer, or bourbon.