Google Maps has evolved over the years into a service that can do much more than provide directions to places. It can help you find your way around buildings, check traffic, find tolls, remember your parked location, and much more.
To continue the trend, Google has now introduced a new feature in Maps. It’s called “Air Quality” and it shows you the air quality index of a city and its surroundings directly in the Maps app.
Google is already rolling out Air Quality to Google Maps users on Android and iOS. Here’s a look at this brand new feature and the steps to use it.
What Is Air Quality on Google Maps?
Air Quality is a brand new Google Maps feature that helps you find out the AQI (Air Quality Index) of a city and its nearby area you’re planning to visit.
It’s essentially a layer, similar to a few pre-existing layers like Street View, 3D, etc., which uses information from the government’s monitoring stations or other non-regulatory partners and presents it in a digestible format on Maps. In the US, the air quality data comes from the Environmental Protection Agency and PurpleAir, whereas it’s from the Central Pollution Control Board in India.
Using Google Maps’ Air Quality feature, you can easily determine whether the outdoor trip or hike you’re planning to a place is safe or not. While this is something that you could already do via a Google search, bringing the feature inside Maps greatly simplifies the process.
How to Find Air Quality of a Place in Google Maps
In order to use the Air Quality, first, update the Google Maps app on your Android or iPhone from their respective app stores. Once done, follow these steps to find out the air quality of a place:
- Open Google Maps on your device.
- Click on the search bar at the top that says Search here, and then enter the name of the place whose AQI you want to find out.
- Once Maps shows you the location, click on the layers icon below the search box.
- Select the Air Quality layer under Map details.
- Google Maps will now show you the air quality of different regions in your searched location inside small color-coded bubbles. To learn more about a place’s AQI, tap on it, and Maps will bring up a card with a bunch of details, including the last updated time as well as any warnings with regards to air quality. A green bubble indicates healthy air, while an orange bubble signifies unhealthy air, and a red bubble represents an extremely unhealthy air.
Check the Outdoor Air Quality of a Place Before Visiting
Google Maps previewed the Air Quality feature, along with a bunch of other features, on Google Maps last year. Given that it’s summer in the US and that many people are starting to travel again—after travel restrictions in many countries have been lifted—Google has finally released the feature to all Google Maps users on Android and iPhone.
So now, before you plan to visit a city or an outdoor activity nearby, you can simply use Google Maps’ Air Quality feature to find out the AQI index for that place and make an informed decision about your trip accordingly.