What We Know About Facebook's Disaster Maps Initiative So Far

On 13 June 2017, we reported on Facebook's new Disaster Maps initiative which the company said will help it share useful data and maps with the relevant organizations during times of crisis.

The initiative, as Facebook highlighted, fits into one of their five areas of focus, namely, "how technology can help keep people safe".

The first thing we've managed to establish is that at the moment Facebook has no intention of enabling disaster incident reporting by users, similar to Ushahidi, the company said in a statement to iAfrikan.

"For now we are starting to share data with a few partners who can help us improve the methodology and who will start using the data to inform their field response teams if a disaster occurs," Facebook stated.

The current aim of Facebook's disaster maps is to provide aggregated views into where people are located, how they are evacuating, and who has checked in safe during the immediate aftermath of a natural disaster. This information according to Facebook can help humanitarian organizations respond more efficiently and effectively during a disaster.

"Over time, we intend to make it possible for additional organizations and governments to participate in this programme,"

Currently Facebook is working on the disaster maps initiative with UNICEF, the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, the World Food Programme, and other humatarian organizations to refine the methodology.

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