The latest update that Google has rolled out to Google Maps will now help users get a breath of fresh air. The latest update is introducing a new layer of data that will show users an area’s latest AQI or air quality index rating.
The update has been made to both the iOS and Android versions. The new update also lets users know what the air in an area will be like: whether it’s smoggy, smoky, otherwise bad, or simply fantastic.
The new AQI layer also comes with a guide for suitable outdoor activities, and in a more detailed preview, it will also show what outdoor activities to avoid. The new API on Google Maps will also show when the information was last updated.
The feature is available only in the United States and certain parts of Canada. The data comes from government agencies, mainly the EPA or the Environmental Protection Agency. Maps also show air quality information from PurpleAir, a low-cost sensor network that can give you a hyperlocal view of conditions.
To enable this air quality layer on your map, you need to tap the button in the top right corner of your phone’s screen and select Air Quality under Map details. The information from PurpleAir is also available on Google Nest displays and Google’s smart speakers.
The new update also has a wildfire layer available in the US as the season is approaching. The United States, particularly California, has had a terrible history of forest wildfires.
This wildfire layer update lets users see details about active fires in the area, thanks to Google partnering up with the United States’ National Interagency Fire Center or NIFC. For large wildfires, you can also search “wildfires near me,” and the associated details will be surfaced, along with air quality information. “In the coming months,” Google search will also be adding smoke data across the US from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
These updates will soon be rolled out in other areas, depending on how certain prone areas are too extreme pollution and wildfires.