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Aiming To Help Save Lives In Crisis Facebook Rolls Out Disaster Maps in India

Disaster Maps
Image courtesy: Google

Social media giant Facebook on Thursday (November 9) introduced new measures, including its Disaster Maps feature in India.

Facebook has collaborated with India’s National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA).

The motive behind the launch of these features is to help communities recover and rebuild faster in the aftermath of natural disasters in the country.

The initiatives include Disaster Maps, a platform unveiled globally in July, which is based on aggregated “de-identified Facebook data”.

It comprises of three sub-tools – location density maps, movement maps and safety check maps.

Location density maps show where people are located before, during and after a disaster.

The data is then compared with historical records such as population estimates based on satellite images, Facebook explained in a release.

‘Movement Maps’ illustrate patterns of movement between different neighborhoods or cities over a period of several hours.

“Safety Check” maps are based on where Facebook community uses ‘Safety Check’ feature to notify their friends and family that they are safe during a disaster.

According to United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) data, India is the third-worst affected country by natural disasters like floods, earthquakes, landslides, cyclones and drought.

Moreover, the response time during and after these crises is often slow and it takes significant time and resources to understand where help is needed most.

Disaster Maps, powered by Facebook’s technology and intensive research, will address this critical gap in data that government organizations face when responding to a crisis.

Facebook is also supporting the pilot of the ASK-DIV (Disaster Information Volunteers) scheme where a network of trained volunteers provide supplementary information to inform relief efforts through the Facebook ‘Workplace’ platform.

This programme with SEEDS will establish a network of volunteers to provide real-time, first-hand information on disasters in their local communities.

The programme will be piloted in two disaster-prone states — Assam and Uttarakhand.

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