Facebook has introduced disaster maps to help organisations address critical gaps in information they face while responding to natural disasters.
Based on aggregated location information users choose to share with Facebook, three types of maps — location density maps, movement maps and safety check maps — will be provided during disaster response efforts.
“We can help response organisations paint a more complete picture of where affected people are located to determine where resources like food, water and medical supplies are needed and where people are out of harm’s way,” explained Molly Jackman, public policy research manager at Facebook, in a blog post.
Location density maps show where people are located before, during and after a disaster to help response organisations understand areas impacted by a natural disaster.
Movement maps illustrate patterns of movement between different neighbourhoods or cities over a period of several hours to allow responders to better allocate resources regionally.
Safety check maps are based on where our community uses the safety check feature to notify their friends and family that they are safe during a disaster.
Facebook is stated to share this information with trusted organisations that have capacity to act on the data and respect privacy standards, starting with Unicef, the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and the World Food Programme.
“Over time, we intend to make it possible for additional organisations and governments to participate in this program. All applications will be reviewed carefully by people at Facebook, including those with local expertise,” stated Jackman.