In a bid to expand the reach of internet to every corner of the world, Facebook said that it has created a data map of the human population of 23 countries by combining government census numbers with information obtained from satellites.
Citing Janna Lewis, Facebook’s head of strategic innovation partnerships and sourcing, CNBC reported that the mapping technology can pinpoint any man-made structures in any country on Earth to a resolution of five metres.
Facebook used the data to understand the precise distribution of humans around the planet which would help it determine what types of internet service — based either on land, in the air or in space — it can use to reach consumers who now have no (or very low quality) internet.
“Satellites are exciting for us. Our data showed the best way to connect cities is an internet in the sky,” Lewis was quoted as saying at a Space Technology and Investment Forum sponsored by the Space Foundation in San Francisco this week.
“We are trying to connect people from the stratosphere and from space,” using high-altitude drone aircraft and satellites, to supplement Earth-based networks,” Lewis added.
The data is used “to know the population distribution” of Earth to figure out “the best connectivity technologies” in different locales.
“We see these as a viable option for serving these populations” that are “unconnected or under-connected,” she said.
Facebook said that it developed the mapping technology itself.