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FB launches population density maps for Bangladesh.

Social network giant Facebook (FB) has unveiled "population density maps" and big data to address large-scale social, health and infrastructure using artificial intelligence (AI) for Bangladesh and the Asia- Pacific region to accelerate achievement of the sustainable development goals.

The high-resolution population density maps will show an estimate of the number of people living within 30-metre grid tiles, and include the number of children under five, as well as the number of women of reproductive age, and other helpful demographics. Facebook's population density maps can improve how nonprofits do their work, how researchers learn, and how policies are developed, they said.

The latest map for Bangladesh can be downloaded on FB's page on Humanitarian Data Exchange.

'These maps showcase the power of collaboration between Facebook and top research institutions like Columbia University to combine public data sources and machine learning to empower more data-driven humanitarian projects around the globe," says Alex Pompe, a research manager at Facebook. Using its machine learning capabilities, Facebook started developing population density maps to provide better tools to support connectivity efforts around the world. FB is applying the processing muscle of its compute power, its extensive data science skills and its expertise in AI. It also partners with Columbia University's Center for International Earth Science Information Network (CIESIN ( to ensure that this effort leverages the best available administrative data for all countries involved. Prior to FB's mapping project, it would have required countless hours for volunteers to comb through millions of square miles of pictures to identify which contained a tiny town or remote village, the statement said.

The FB team used AI to solve that problem, efficiently crunching through data at a petabyte scale. For instance in a country, the computer vision system examined 11.5 billion individual images to determine whether they contained a building.

The team found approximately 110 million building locations in just a few days. FB said this new AI-powered and high-resolution maps would help relief agencies and health organizations better assist people in need, as it is working closely with key non-profit and research partners to use AI and big data to address large-scale social, health and infrastructure challenges in Asia and accelerate achievement of the sustainable development goals (SDGs).

'Building data products from non-personal data sources, like satellite imagery and census data allows FB to share its data science and compute power with the world while protecting privacy," said the popular social networking site in a media statement.

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Publication:The News Today (Dhaka, Bangladesh)
Geographic Code:9BANG
Date:Jun 21, 2019
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