Mapping Redux

Last week I blogged about an interactive map I was working on that would enable users to view all major league players by birthplace and possibly birthdate. This could be done using Leaflet, a very cool javascript mapping app built on the Cloudmade platform. Well, a few things have changed since then!

After a lot of geocoding, testing, and sense checks, my direction has changed multiple times over the last several days. We now have a winner – good old Google Earth, using the GE web plugin, appears to offer the best combination of capability and wow! factor for this project.

One of the drivers behind this decision is the global nature of the data, with players born in such diverse places as Venezuela, Australia, the Netherlands, and of course, all parts of the United States. Looking at this data via a 2-dimensional map just didn’t work for me, so enter Google Earth and 3-D. There are also ways to categorize and filter the data using GE that will approximate what I could have done working with Exhibit or Leaflet.

If all goes according to plan (naive thought, I realize) this project should be online and functional in the next 7 days. I promise, it will be both fun to use and slick to look at, giving you the ability to sift and zoom through more than 17k player records.

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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.