Football Teams, DBPedia and SPARQL

Having written a number of applications which scrape information directly from Wikipedia pages, I was delighted to discover the DBpedia project. Chris Bizer and his collegues have brought the rather nebulous ideal of the Semantic web to life with this RDF database built on extracted data from Wikipedia, browsable as linked data or queryable with SPARQL. With this resource, I see how to contrast triples and SPARQL with SQL and XML in the DSA course.

My first experiment has been to try to answer a question that has been recently prompted, in part, by the appointment of Fabio Capella as the manager of the England Football team. My godson Oliver and I were wondering just how international our club sides are and what better way to find out than to use the DBpedia data to create a map of the birthplaces of the players in a team.

The result is described in some detail in an XQuery Wikibook article.
Here for example are the players in the Bolton Wanderers team shown via GoogleMap. (you may have to refresh - there's often an initial server error ??)

Being based on an extract from Wikipedia some weeks ago, this data is not quite up-to-date, there is missing data and inconsistancies in property tagging but I couldn't do this without DBpedia - thank you guys.