Facebook has stepped up its corporate responsibility status today by introducing disaster maps which are meant to assist companies address the gap in the information that they face while they are responding to natural disasters.

According to Public Policy Research Manager at Facebook, Molly Jackman, the company is able to assist the response platforms paint a more comprehensive image of where the affected people are in order to determine where crucial resources like water, medical supplies and food are most required and where survivors are out of harm’s way so resources can be effectively distributed.

Map types chart situation on the ground

Facebook has created three map types which are to assist the authorities track down survivors after a natural calamity. The first one uses existing technology to create a location density map. After, making information anonymous, Facebook would display to the companies where the population is before and after the disaster.

Considering the systems of communications are usually rendered inoperable after natural disasters, Facebook hopes the information is going to help relevant organizations see the regions which have been affected the worst by such a disaster.


The second type of map is a movement one which tracks the patterns of individual’s movement between the neighborhoods and cities over the course of time. It would assist the authorities to choose where and how to deploy their resources.

It may even assist with the control of traffic in areas prone to gridlock. Finally, safety check maps will be issued based on where the community utilizes the safety check attribute in notifying family and friends they are in the safer zones at the time of a disaster.

Basically, the objective for Facebook is to create an almost 3-D simulation of what happens during disasters with regards to survivor movement and evacuations.

Some of the evacuees may be going straight for the danger or resources could be ineffectively utilized on those who do not need it as much leading to the deaths of others that could have been saved.

The tool is going to save a hundreds if not thousands of lives in the coming years.

However, there are concerns the information shared by the social media giant would be available to anyone. Considering the location information is sensitive, it poses a security threat to have it distributed to other firms even if they are the ones meant to process and respond appropriately to the threat.

In this regard, Facebook has clearly stated that it intends to carefully choose the platforms to which it submits the critical data.

Facebook heeds privacy concerns

Apparently, Facebook is slated to share this information only with the trusted platforms and organizations that have the ability to act on the information while respecting the standards of privacy such as UNICEF, the Red Crescent Societies and the World Health Organization.

Miss Jackman claimed that over time they intend to make it possible for other companies and governments to participate within the program. All applications are reportedly going to be reviewed by individuals at the firm, especially the ones that have local expertise.

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