Social networking Inc Facebook is using its artificial intelligence (AI) technology and resources to map the entire Earth and launch the world’s most detailed population maps that will help it beam cheap internet to remote areas.
To begin with, the Facebook AI team crunched 14.6 billion images of maps from across 20 countries, including India, covering 21.6 million sq kms to come up with the first detailed map of human settlement for these countries.
Many people live in remote communities and accurate data on where people live doesn’t always exist.
The 20 countries mapped were Algeria, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Egypt, Ethiopia, Ghana, India, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Madagascar, Mexico, Mozambique, Nigeria, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Turkey, Uganda, Ukraine and Uzbekistan.
“We can’t beam internet connectivity to people if we don’t know where communities are, so we built AI technology to analyse 15.6 billion satellite images to create much more accurate population maps across 21.6 million square kilometers of Earth,” Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said.
To create such maps, Facebook’s Connectivity Lab teamed up with the company’s AI group and data science team.
It obtained over 14.6 billion images of maps from Columbia University and the World Bank.
It then employed its AI algorithm to identify objects, specifically things that would show humans are living in the area, like houses, shelter and roadways.
Facebook has partnered with researchers at Columbia University to figure out how to make this vast pool of data available to all by the end of this year.