Google Maps has added a new Air Quality feature to help you see the type air in a location along with the regular details. It rolled out the feature for both iOS and Android versions of the app.
The new feature is more like a layer on the map grid that shows the Air Quality Index (AQI) using data from government agencies. It also uses information from street-mounted PurpleAir’s network of sensors to give more localised details.
You can use it to see if there is a smog or smoke in your path and avoid it (if you can) or be prepared (if you can’t).
The feature will give additional air quality details like how the particular type of air may affect your health as well as the time and source of the most recent reading– this helps you know to se if it is still relevant. There will also be links to learn more about the info you are seeing. You can access all the other details by clicking the dotted lines around Google Maps result.
Although Google did not say anything about the timing of this new feature, The Verge’s report notes that it coincides with the beginning of wildfire season.
In 2021 alone, Disaster Philanthropy Organisation reported that 8,619 wildfires burned over 2.6 million acres in North America alone. While there is no particular date to anticipate wildfires, they usually start around June.
Google likely has plans to use the feature on a broader scale to help citizens. There is no indication that this will be available globally, at least not yet.
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