AI Helps Facebook to Map Nearly 500,000 Km of Thai Roads

Aug 2019

In July 2019 it was revealed that Facebook mapped 300,000 miles (487,000 km) of previously unmapped roads in Thailand by using artificial intelligence (AI), making the results available to the public.

According to Facebook, the project was completed in 18 months, less than half the time it would have taken 100 mapping experts to do it manually. The maps could be used for disaster response and urban planning.

The AI system uses satellite images with a resolution of two sq ft per pixel to distinguish roads from walkways or rivers. It relies on a method that uses deep learning and weakly supervised training to predict road networks from commercially available high-resolution satellite imagery. 

The project is a collaboration with OpenStreetMap (OSM), built by a community of mappers who maintain data about roads, railways stations and other services around the world.

(Sources: BBC; PrivSec Report; AI.Facebook)

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