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Facebook's Displacement Maps track daily movements of populations displaced by natural disasters

[2020.01.13, Mon 18:05] In an effort to furnish humanitarian organizations and government agencies alike with better information, Facebook today launched a new version of its Displacement Maps that calculates displacement levels on a daily cadence. The improved Displacement Maps - which come roughly a year after the initial version was released as a part of Facebook's Disaster Maps product suite - was co-developed by the Norwegian Refugee Council's Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre. "Partners such as SEEDS India and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health have used previous versions of our displacement maps for disaster response and public health research, and we hope that our full list of over 100 NGO and research partners will be able to leverage these new maps to fulfill their missions," wrote Facebook researchers Eugenia Giraudy, Paige Maas, Shankar Iyer, Alex Dow, Alex Pompe. Facebook says Displacement Maps now analyzes the patterns of people in areas affected by natural disasters that exhibit "Abrupt changes" in their movement patterns, aggregated to a city level. Starting on day 15 after the crisis, Displacement Maps generates daily updates of the population status to count the number of people displaced and returned within and across cities, aggregating to a country level when the city count is too low. Facebook says that the improved Displacement Maps have been applied to Cyclone Fani in India and Bangladesh, where they've helped to show that areas like Bhubaneswar experienced a 15% displacement compared with cities near the Kolkata area, which experienced only 1% to 2% displacement. "[B]ecause we generate disaster maps for a wide variety of natural disasters - not just big ones - our displacement data can fill gaps where official statistics do not exist," wrote Giraudy, Maas, Iyer, Dow, and Pompe.
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