Facebook Buys Mapping Company Mapillary

Facebook Buys Mapping Company Mapillary

Facebook has purchased Mapillary in the social media giant’s efforts to expand open mapping efforts, Mapillary said in a blog post.

The company will still remain available for users to upload imagery and use map data, the post assures users; but now, the company will be lending its tools to help create visual imagery of every place in the world to Facebook’s satellite imagery, machine learning (ML) and other such tools, in partnership with mapping communities.

The goal, according to both companies, is to bring the world closer together.

“By merging our efforts, we will further improve the ways that people and machines can work with both aerial and street-level imagery to produce map data,” the post states.

The Facebook mapping efforts have powered Facebook Marketplace and its database of small businesses, and they have been used to aid humanitarian efforts through the world, the post notes.

Mapillary said in the post that its commitment to OpenStreetMap, the free Wiki world map, will continue, with the editors for that project able to continue working in a collaborative manner.

And the images uploaded to Mapillary will still be used openly, although now they’ll be available for commercial use through the Facebook partnership, the post states, which they were not previously. The company said the continuing free use will allow for a wider breadth and quality of coverage of the world.

“Together with Facebook, we’ll be able to build the tools that will keep our maps detailed, accurate and up to date — for everyone, everywhere,” the post states.

Facebook also recently bought large stakes in London-based Scape Technologies in order to work on location-based GPS technology. The technology is purported to expand computer vision and help machines with cameras to comprehend their surroundings, enhancing normal GPS tactics.