Disaster Maps

In the wake of a disaster, Disaster Maps share real-time information with response teams, helping them determine things like whether communities have access to power and cellular networks, if they have evacuated, and what services and supplies they need most.

Features

Privacy

Disaster Maps use statistical techniques to maintain individuals' privacy. For example, we only share de-identified information and also add up data points in a given area (called a map 'cell' or a 'tile') to prevent re-identification. If there are only a few individuals in an area, we also smooth populations across tiles, meaning that we average the number of people in a given area with nearby areas, making it even harder to re-identify anyone.

Timeliness

Disaster Maps can be generated within 24 hours of a natural disaster — much faster than comparable tools— and update daily as the situation on the ground unfolds. This allows agencies to respond to changing circumstances in evacuations, connectivity, or supply needs.

Global Reach

Since the launch of Disaster Maps in June 2017, we have generated data for 100+ natural disasters, helping to guide response efforts around the world. During the 2018 hurricane season, our maps informed active disaster recovery in India, Guatemala, Indonesia, the Philippines, California, North Carolina, Florida, and other disaster-affected locations around the world.

The most provocative part of this data, from Direct Relief’s point of view, seems to lie in quickly getting a read on how people are actually behaving during emergencies, rather than how we suspect they ought to behave. That’s often the difference between intending to do good and accomplishing it.”

Andrew Schroeder, Director of Research and Analysis, Direct Relief

Who Uses Disaster Maps

International agencies

International agencies and UN organizations like UNICEF and the World Food Programme use Disaster Maps data to guide their local deployments to disaster-affected areas and support local governments in their response efforts.

Domestic non-profits

Domestic organizations like the American Red Cross, SEEDS India, and Humanity Road use Disaster Maps to support their local communities, track evacuations, and route supplies to the areas that need them most.

Universities and researchers

Universities and researchers use Disaster Maps to analyze how disaster-affected populations are using social services, whether they evacuate based on official orders, and how social ties affect their resilience after a disaster.

Methodology

Facebook Disaster Maps show where disaster-affected populations are located, how they are moving, and whether they have access to cellular networks and power. All data is de-identified — that is, it doesn't connect to a person’s name or any other identifying information. To protect individual privacy, data sets are aggregated across time and space in the following ways:

Learn more

Case Studies

In the News

Get Involved

Please email the Disaster Maps team if you're interested in becoming an NGO partner.

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