One of the biggest challenges in humanitarian aid is actually delivering the product to the people who need it most. Vaccines, disease-battling insecticides, and new advancements in solar technology can all help people in developing countries stay healthier and have better-quality lives. That is, if you can locate them. In many places, smaller communities are spread out over vast and relatively uncharted terrain. Facebook is trying to help change that by creating a high-resolution population density map for nearly the entire continent of Africa. Developed by the company’s Boston-based World.AI team, it’s really a demonstration of the company’s immense computational and processing power (and a play to help telecom services get internet service to more of the continent faster, which means more Facebook users). Facebook essentially subdivided a 16 million-square-mile landmass into billions of snapshots, each of an area of land about the size of a softball field. The overhead images came from imagery company Digital Globe. Once it knew where people lived, it could combine that with census data to figure out about how many people might actually be in those abodes. That information came from the Center for International Earth Science Information Network at Columbia University, which folds together many disparate… Read full this story
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