Back in March 2021, Google announced a new specialized layer for Maps that would show the air quality data for your locality. The feature is now available in the US, India, and Australia. Users of both Android and iOS devices would be able to check the quality of air in their city on Google Maps.
The Air Quality layer on Maps can be accessed from the same layers menu that you use to switch between satellite and default map views. It’s the circular button below the search bar and carousel of quick search categories. Tapping this button will pull up the menu with various types of maps. At the bottom-right corner under the “Map details” section, you’ll find the Air Quality layer. Select this layer to see the quality of air in your locality and places nearby. Of course, you can navigate to any location on Maps to check the air quality of that location.
When you enter the Air Quality layer on Google Maps, it will zoom out to show more places. Color-coded pins will show the air quality rating for a particular location. The ratings, aka air quality index (AQI), range from 0 to 400+, with categories such as good, satisfactory, poor, and severe. A lower AQI value represents better quality of air. You can pull up the panel from the bottom of the screen to see more information about each location. You can also tap on individual pins for additional details such as when was the data last updated.
In the US, Google is sourcing air quality data from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as well as PurpleAir. The company describes the latter as “a low-cost sensor network that gives a more hyperlocal view of conditions.”
Google brings air quality information to more of its products
Google Maps isn’t the only place where you can see air quality data. The company has added this feature to several of its products. You can also find the info on the Nest Hub home screen as well as on Google Search. Additionally, Pixel’s At a Glance widget is also making room for air quality data. You will be able to check the information from the lockscreen and get alerts if the air quality of your area worsens to an unhealthy level.
The addition of the Air Quality layer, as well as the Wildfires layer, makes Google Maps an even more useful tool when heading out this summer. “As you head out on hikes, camping trips, and other outdoor adventures, we hope these tools help you feel safe and informed so you can enjoy the summer,” Google says.