Google Maps Can Now Tell You Where to Find Clean Air
The mobile Google Maps applications will soon have an Air Quality map layer, available from the same map menu that has toggles for traffic data, 3D objects, wildfires, and other data. When enabled, the layer will display points on the map for weather stations, with each point’s color corresponding to the air quality index — green is good, orange is worse, and red is bad. You can also tap on a point to see all available data.
Google said in its blog post, “the air quality layer shows trusted data from government agencies, including the Environmental Protection Agency in the U.S. We are also showing air quality information from PurpleAir, a low-cost sensor network which gives a more hyperlocal view of conditions.”
The new weather data will come in handy for much of the United States — especially the west coast — as wildfires are expected to increase during the hot summer months. There have already been several terrible wildfires in the US this year, including the ongoing Hermits Peak Fire near Las Vegas, which started in early May and has burned 318,000 acres of land near Las Vegas. Google Maps can already show wildfire data, but fires can blow dust and other particles across hundreds or thousands of miles, which is where air quality indicators come in handy.
Google says the air quality layer is rolling out to the Google Maps apps on iPhone and Android. It’s unclear if air quality data will be limited to the United States, or if other data sources will be used in other regions.