Google Maps has rolled out a new Air Quality Index (AQI) feature that allows users to check air pollution levels at any time. The feature will also allow users to check the level of allergens like pollen, which is very handy for those who are allergic or sensitive to the presence of these particles in the air. The feature is available on both Android and iOS, which means users will be able to check out the feature on their smartphone or tablet irrespective of the operating platform.
The AQI feature comes a few months after Google Maps rolled out a wildfire layer to help people living in wildfire-prone regions, such as California. The feature enables users to see how wildfires in the region have affected the air quality so that they can avoid going out when the air is filled with noxious fumes. Users can also tap on any of the fires on the map to see available links to resources from local governments, such as emergency websites, helpline numbers, and evacuation details.
To check the Air Quality Index on Google Maps, open the app on an iPhone, iPad or Android device, and then select the location where air quality needs to be checked. On the top-right corner, tap on the layers icon which looks like two squares stacked on top of each other. On the slide-out menu, tap on ‘Air Quality‘ under ‘Map Details.’ Users will now see a color-coded AQI score for each location in the map, and tapping on any of the AQI bubbles will enable them to get the full air quality data for that town or area. In terms of what the scores mean, they indicate the level of pollution, which means the lower, the better. Anything under 50 is said to be good, while anything above 300 is considered hazardous.
AQI Scores In Google Search
The AQI feature is also available in Google search, enabling users to find the information even without using Google Maps. Users can easily find the air quality data from their phone or computer by searching for “air quality near me” or “air quality in [location name].” In the U.S., the AQI data is provided by the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency). Google has also tied up with PurpleAir, which is an affordable sensor network that transmits air quality on a hyperlocal level. Air quality information will also be available to view on Google’s Nest displays and speakers.
Google Maps is also rolling out more details about active wildfires in the U.S. thanks to its tie-up with the National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC). More wildfire-related information is now available in Google Search, with users now being able to search for “wildfires near me” to see both air quality and other useful details about the fire. In addition, Google Maps will also add smoke data across the U.S. from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in the coming months.