Facebook Launches Disaster Maps to Help Communities Recover and Rebuild




According to recent news by the Facebook Newsroom, Facebook is introducing disaster maps that use aggregated, de-identified Facebook data to help organizations address the critical gap in the information they often face when responding to natural disasters. Many of these organizations worked with us to identify what data would be most helpful and how it could be put to action in the moments following a disaster.

Facebook can help response organizations paint a complete picture of where affected people are located so they can determine where resources — like food, water, and medical supplies — are needed and where people are out of harm’s way.

This initiative is the product of close work with UNICEF, the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, the World Food Programme, and other organizations. It is an example of how technology can help keep people safe, one of our five areas of focus as we help build a global community.

This type of information can help response organizations understand which neighborhoods suffered the most damage following an earthquake and where people might be in need of help as they evacuate their homes and eventually return.

Based on these organizations’ feedback we are providing multiple types of maps during disaster response efforts, which will include aggregated location information people have chosen to share with Facebook.

Location density maps show where people are located before, during and after a disaster. We can compare this information to historical records, like population estimates based on satellite images. Comparing these data sets can help response organizations understand areas impacted by a natural disaster.

Movement maps illustrate patterns of movement between different neighborhoods or cities over a period of several hours. By understanding these patterns, response organizations can better predict where resources will be needed, gain insight into patterns of evacuation, or predict where traffic will be most congested.

Safety Check maps are based on where our community uses Safety Check to notify their friends and family that they are safe during a disaster. We are using this de-identified data in aggregate to show where more or fewer people check in safe, which may help organizations understand where people are most vulnerable and where help is needed.

Facebook is hoping that this data helps communities have the information they need to recover and rebuild if disaster strikes.




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