Facebook acquires crowdsourced mapping company Mapillary

Mapillary aims to solve one of the most expensive problems in mapping: keeping maps updated with “street level data” about signs, addresses and other information that can be observed from the road.

Big companies such as Apple and Alphabet Inc’s Google solve the problem by sending out fleets of vehicles outfitted with cameras and other sensors to gather images.

Mapillary crowdsources the images, ingesting pictures contributed from smart phones and other types of cameras, and uses “computer vision” technology to stitch them together into a three-dimensional map.

Many consider that information key for self-driving car technology, although a Facebook spokesman said it would also underpin Facebook products under development like augmented reality glasses and virtual reality headsets.