It’s now even easier to plan for a safe trip outdoors, thanks to a recent update to Google Maps that lets you check air quality.
Now available in Australia via the Google Maps app on iOS and Android devices, you can add an air quality layer to view the conditions outside. Additionally, you can use Google Search to quickly check a specific location’s air quality. Sourced from state and territory government agencies, this data includes Air Quality Index (AQI) and Air Quality Categories (AQC). This information provides an indication of how healthy the air is at any given location, how recent the information is, and links to further resources.
It’s a timely feature, too, considering we’re approaching the Australian summer and the risk of bushfires increases. Beyond that, it’s likely to help people with medical conditions affecting the respiratory system avoid risky outdoor situations. Alongside weather forecasts and UV ratings, air quality readings in Google Maps should make it easier to plan outings through a single app.
On the convenience of including air quality updates through Google, Mark Taylor, EPA Victoria’s Chief Environmental Scientist Professor, believes it will benefit people alongside the agency’s services.
“EPA Victoria’s air monitoring provides important data and health information to the community through our AirWatch website,” Taylor said. “We welcome the opportunity provided by Google to have our information shared with even more people across the state.”
“The real-time data can help people with respiratory difficulties or illnesses to avoid areas impacted by poor air quality in times of emergency like a bushfire or severe pollen event. AirWatch shows the level of pollutants in the air at monitoring sites across Victoria. With this information on hand, people can make decisions about how they will enjoy the great outdoors.”
How to enable the air quality layer on Google Maps
Although you can find air quality by location using Google’s native search function, there’s a simple way to add the feature to Google Maps. Simply tap on the layers icon (it looks like squares tiled on one another) below the search bar on the right, and then select Air Quality. Now, when you browse Google Maps, you’ll see visualised air quality ratings as provided by government agencies.
It’s a nifty addition to Google Maps and one that further reduces the need for a separate weather app. Plus, it also saves time for those who need to check government websites each time before leaving the house.