Google Maps has rolled out a new air quality feature in the United States for both Android and iOS users. This new feature shows the air quality layer on Google Maps, which will help users to make more informed decisions before heading out for hiking, camping trips, and other outdoor adventures.
The Air Quality Index (AQI) is a measure of how healthy (or unhealthy) the air is, i.e., whether it’s “Good”, “Moderate”, “Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups”, “Unhealthy”, “Very Unhealthy”, or “Hazardous”. It will also provide guidance for outdoor activities based on the AQI when the information was last updated and links to learn more.
“When you’re visiting a new place or planning outdoor activities, it can be helpful to know the air quality conditions — like whether it’s unusually smoggy. Check out the air quality layer on Google Maps for both Android and iOS, to help you make more informed decisions about whether it’s safe to go on a hike or other outdoor adventures,” Can Comertoglu, Product Manager, Google Maps and Nofar Paled Levi, Product Manager, Google Search wrote in a blog post.
According to Google, the air quality layer information comes from trusted government agencies, including the Environmental Protection Agency in the U.S.
Google Maps also shows air quality information from PurpleAir, which is a low-cost sensor network that provides a more hyperlocal view of conditions to the users. You can also view air quality information from PurpleAir on Nest displays and speakers.
To add the air quality layer to your map, just tap on the button in the top right corner of the Google Maps mobile app’s screen, and then select “Air Quality” under Map details.
Besides this, Google has also introduced a wildfire layer in Google Maps in partnership with the National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC). This feature lets you see more details about active fires in the area that you are visiting.
For larger wildfires, you can use Search to look up “Wildfires Near Me”, and all the associated air quality information along with useful information about the fire will be displayed.
In the coming months, Google will also be adding smoke data across the U.S. from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to its air quality information on Google Search.