re: Thanks for the detailed response. Are you familiar with http://mapbox.com? seems like this open source ecosystem could be a useful resource.
Yes, I looked at them and Leaflet. Basically Mapbox is built on top of Leaflet, at least that is my understanding…
I’m presently working on a server side PHP geocoding API for Connections largely based on Geocoder. A good portion of it has to be redone so it is compatible with PHP 5.2 (it requires at least PHP 5.4 presently) and some of it can be simplified using core WP functions. Why work on this?
Right now when an address as added to an entry, it is geocoded automatically. This is basically “hard coded” to use the Google Maps API. This new API for Connections will be multi-provider enabled. So in the future I can create an extension (planned to be free) to allow the user to chose the geocoding provider. This will be needed as users put Connections on sites powering larger and larger databases. Only commercial geocoders service provider will be able to accommodate the larger number of geocode requests. For example, Google Maps maxes out at 2500 per 24hr period anything after that, requests are denied until the request drops under 2500. So if you need more, You need their Business level. This new API will allow that and is easily extensible to add support for any provider.
Wile working on this, what I can tell you is the the OpenStreetMap provider is slow and provides results less accurate than Google and Bing. Not to mention that their API results are … how to put it… not as refined (in my opinion). Leaflet uses OpenStreetMap as it geocoding and map tile provider which likely means it’d be slower. Also, the autocomplete that I have now in the prototype is completely out of the question as OpenStreetMap does not support it.
Since I want fast and autocomplete … that pretty much excludes the use of Leaflet or Mapbox.