Facebook is working on developing the most detailed map to include every human-occupied building on Earth. The social network is doing this so that in the future, everyone can know what it’s like to be on Facebook–even those living in the most undeveloped areas.
Map to help Facebook get everybody online
Facebook’s Internet.org Connectivity Lab, which aims to improve internet access in developing countries, will handle the mapping project. Almost 10% of the world population is living in inactive and undeveloped areas with no Internet connection.
Already the project has analyzed 21.6 million square kilometers’ worth of satellite imagery, which is almost 350 terabytes of data. The process has helped in getting a more certain idea of the location of buildings in rural and remote areas. This will help the social media giant figure out the best way to give the communities access to the Internet by learning where people live in relation to each other.
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Currently, the company is working on making drones to beam Internet signals down to inactive and rural areas without any wireless access, and this detailed map will prove to be of great use as it will help in informing the company about where to use this technology.
Better than others
Announcing the project, the social networking site wrote in its blog post, “Villages lined up along a river or road could be connected by a string of terrestrial point-to-point links, while scattered settlements might require an aerial backhaul solution such as unmanned aerial vehicles or satellites.”
Such maps are much better and clearer than the maps provided by information centers. To prove this, a report from Vox compared Facebook’s map with a map from Columbia University’s Center for International Earth Science Information Network. The map provided by the former is clearer and simpler to look at, whereas the map provided by the latter is very complex. Facebook’s map shows clear satellite images, whereas on the university’s map, the representation of the human population distributions is done in vague orange squares.
Speaking at the World Mobile Convention, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said the social networking site is planning to make this map project open to the public this year. He is hoping that this project could be used further for other work as well.
“We believe this data has many more impactful applications, such as socio-economic research and risk assessment for natural disasters,” the blog said.