Facebook Disaster Maps: Aggregate Insights for Crisis Response & Recovery

author: Paige Maas, Facebook
published: March 2, 2020,   recorded: August 2019,   views: 10

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After a natural disaster or other crisis, humanitarian organizations need to know where affected people are located and what resources they need. While this information is difficult to capture quickly through conventional methods, aggregate usage patterns of social media apps like Facebook can help fill these information gaps. This talk will describe the data and methodology that power Facebook Disaster Maps. These maps utilize information about Facebook usage in areas impacted by natural hazards, producing insights into how the population is affected by and responding to the hazard. In addition to methodology details, including efforts taken to ensure the security and privacy of Facebook users, I’ll also discuss how we worked with humanitarian partners to develop the maps, which are actively used in disaster response today. I’ll give examples of insights generated from the maps and I’ll also discuss some limitations of the current methodologies, challenges, and opportunities for improvement.

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