Facebook Inc. has acquired Mapillary AB, a Swedish startup that takes street-level imagery for an undisclosed sum.Founded in 2013, Mapillary pitches itself as a sort of Google Maps competitor in that it offers street-level imagery such as Google Maps does but with a twist in that its imagery comes from “any camera, anywhere.” The company claims to solve a problem with mapping by keeping maps updated with street-level data about signs, addresses and other information that can be observed from the road
As, Facebook is building tools and technology to improve maps through a combination of machine learning, satellite imagery and partnerships with mapping communities. These maps power products like Facebook Marketplace can drive transactions for millions of small businesses, and supply vital data to humanitarian organizations around the world.
Mapillary is building the tools for creating a living and visual representation of every place in the world, made available for anyone to update the maps they care about. By merging its efforts, Mapillary will further improve the ways that people and machines can work with both aerial and street-level imagery to produce map data.
Mapillary map coverage as of June 2020
According to Reuters, the data from Mapillary can be used for self-driving car technology, although Facebook said that it would be used to underpin its products under development, including augmented reality glasses and virtual reality headsets.
All of the imagery available on Mapillary platform has been open and free for anyone to use for non-commercial purposes. Moving forward, this will continue to be true, except that starting today, it will also be free to use for commercial users as well. By continuing to make all images uploaded to Mapillary open, public, and available to everyone. Joining Facebook moves Mapillary closer to the vision they have had from day one of offering a free service to anyone.
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