Facebook has acquired Swedish mapping technology company Mapilary, the company that is building a global street-level imagery platform allows everyone to get the imagery and data they need to make better maps.
Mapillary brings together a global network of contributors who want to make the world accessible to everyone by visualizing the world and building better maps. Anyone can join and collect street-level images, using simple tools like smartphones or action cameras.
It solicits photo uploads from regular folks in order to build out a highly detailed street level map of the world. It's similar to what Google Maps does, but you can upload your own photos instead of waiting for a Google van to drive around your neighborhood. Folks who make their own mapping software can use Mapillary's data for their own purposes, too.
Mapillary's blog post indicated that the data would remain open and free to use for both commercial and non-commercial purposes, so it doesn't seem like Facebook is walling it off yet. It's not entirely clear what Facebook intends to do with Mapillary's platform, as general use mapping software isn't really in Mark Zuckerberg's portfolio.