Paige Maas, Shankar Iyer, Andreas Gros, Wonhee Park, Laura McGorman, Chaya Nayak, et al. (2019). Facebook Disaster Maps: Aggregate Insights for Crisis Response & Recovery. In Z. Franco, J. J. González, & J. H. Canós (Eds.), Proceedings of the 16th International Conference on Information Systems for Crisis Response And Management. Valencia, Spain: Iscram.
Abstract: After a natural disaster or other crisis, humanitarian organizations need to know where affected people are located
and what resources they need. While this information is difficult to capture quickly through conventional methods,
aggregate usage patterns of social media apps like Facebook can help fill these information gaps.
In this paper, we describe the data and methodology that power Facebook Disaster Maps. These maps utilize
information about Facebook usage in areas impacted by natural hazards, producing aggregate pictures of how the
population is affected by and responding to the hazard. The maps include insights into evacuations, cell network
connectivity, access to electricity, and long-term displacement.
In addition to descriptions and examples of each map type, we describe the source data used to generate the maps,
and efforts taken to ensure the security and privacy of Facebook users. We also describe limitations of the current
methodologies and opportunities for improvement.