Aiming to use Artificial Intelligence (AI) to create accurate maps, Facebook said its maps now cover “majority” of Africa and that its project would eventually map nearly the whole world’s population. In 2016, Facebook had created population maps for 22 nations.
“When it is completed, humanitarian agencies will be able to determine how populations are distributed even in remote areas so that healthcare workers can better reach the households and relief workers can better distribute aid.
“Offering open data for free in a responsible way also enables Facebook researchers to better understand the many applications of their work and to guide their research in the right directions,” Facebook said in a blog post late on Tuesday.
The census and satellite data used contain no personally identifiable information, Facebook said. Since Facebook released the first set of maps two years ago, they have improved how nonprofits do their work, how researchers learn and how policies are developed.
“For example, in Malawi, the Red Cross and the Missing Maps programme, in partnership with the Malawi Ministry of Health, used Facebook maps to inform a measles and rubella campaign. By showing that 97 per cent of the land space was uninhabited, the Red Cross was able to deploy 3,000 trained local volunteers to specific areas in need,” Facebook said.