Google Maps Gets Air Quality Index, Wildfire Layer on iOS and Android Apps


Google Maps has received a new feature that will now show the air quality index to users in the United States, on both Android and iOS. Google claims this feature to be proven helpful for the users to know the air quality conditions, whether it’s smoggy, smoky, bad or simply wonderful in the US. The Air Quality Index (AQI) is a measure of how healthy (or unhealthy) the air is. The index will also offer guidance for outdoor activities, when the information was last updated and links to learn more. Maps also gets a new wildfire layer that will provide information on active fires near your location.

The search giant, via a blog post on Wednesday, detailed new features that are rolling out to Google Maps. These new features include the air quality index and a new wildfire layer in the Google Maps mobile app. As of now, the features are only available in the US. Both features are coming to Android and iOS platforms allowing users to check the AQI, a measure of how healthy the air is. It will also provide a guidance for outdoor activities based on the AQI. Google Maps also show the air quality information from PurpleAir, which is said to be a low-cost sensor network that gives a more hyperlocal view of conditions to the users.

google maps air quality layer google google maps

The air quality layer in the Google Maps let users know how healthy the air is.
Photo Credit: Google

On the other hand, the air quality layer shows data from government agencies, including the Environmental Protection Agency in the US, as per Google. Users can add the air quality index to their map by tapping on the button in the top right corner of the Google Maps mobile app’s screen and selecting the “Air Quality” option under Map details.

Meanwhile, for the wildfire layer in Google Maps, the company has partnered with the National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC) to offer information. Users can find out the details about active fires in nearby outdoor areas they are visiting in the US. Users can turn on this feature before heading out and also can use Search to look up “Wildfires Near Me” to know about the larger wildfires across those areas.

Google Maps is also going to add the smoke data across the US from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to their air quality information on Google Search, in the coming months, according to the company.​


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