It’s been a while since I’ve posted, but I just heard this story and I felt like sharing it widely. Undergrad students at Davidson making maps of basketball plays and helping their team – via their coaches – be more successful than ever. They watch the game VERY CAREFULLY and plot the data. This is manual data collection, then manual data entry. Not, as the NPR story suggests, the same way that the big guys do it now, with lots of overhead cameras. And now that Kirk Goldberry has hit the big time in letting the world know about this strategy, it’s surely becoming a more widespread practice.
I like that the guys at Davidson have figured it out on their own. I like that the first time, they turned in a “5-page essay” of the results to the coaches, and discovered how less-than-helpful that was. So now they produce the much more visually effective “heat maps” and help the team learn about their competition, spatially, before tip-off. And that they have the work-flow down to 10 minutes? Give these guys a hand. And, @NPR, next time – it’s okay to say “spatial analysis” and “GIS” as well.
Of course, smart undergrads have been doing this exact thing for a while. Like the Travis Gingras from St. Lawrence who did this with hockey, almost 10 years ago!