Google has announced a pretty nifty update to Google Maps, rolling out to iPhone and Android now, to help you find some clean, nice air.
The update, announced on the official Google blog (opens in a new tab), comes at a crucial time in the United States, as air temperatures soar. About 30 million people in the South West are preparing (opens in a new tab) for the extreme heat waves at the moment.
Google Maps will display the Air Quality Index (AQI), a guide to whether or not the air is quality somewhere, along with advice on what exercise would make sense in those conditions.
The data itself comes from trusted government agencies, such as the Environmental Protection Agency, as well as the PurpleAir sensor network.
Air quality will appear as a layer in Google Maps, so just tap the icon in the lower right corner and add the layer, just like you would with traffic details or hotspots Covid-19.
Preparing for wildfires
Google doesn’t stop there, however.
Hot weather in the United States means one thing: wildfires. To help people avoid fires and stay safe in remote places that may be affected by smoke, Google is adding a wildfire layer to Maps, located in the same location as the air quality layer. .
“We work closely with weather and air quality partners to surface useful, authoritative information when you need it most,” the company says. “As you go hiking, camping and on other outdoor adventures, we hope these tools help you feel safe and informed so you can enjoy the summer.”
Ensuring the safety of people
These updates may seem small and incremental, but millions, if not tens of millions, of people use Google Maps every day to travel.
Adding easily accessible features like these help people access the information they need when they need it, which is especially important during wildfire season in the United States when temperatures soar in arrow and that things can be unpredictable.