Google Maps helps you breathe more easily with new air quality index layer

Google Maps
Google Maps (Image credit: iMore)

What you need to know

  • Google Maps has a new layer dedicated to air quality index information.
  • Google has also added a new layer that shows information about local wildfires.

Google Maps is rolling out a new air quality index (AQI) feature to give people as much information as possible about the air that they will breathe when stepping foot outside. The new feature is available as an additional mapping layer.

Google announced the addition via a blog post, noting that it will give users of both iOS and Android a way to tell the quality of the air and whether they should consider outdoor activities based on readings.

When you're visiting a new place or planning outdoor activities, it can be helpful to know the air quality conditions — like whether it's unusually smoggy. Check out the air quality layer on Google Maps for both Android and iOS, to help you make more informed decisions about whether it's safe to go on a hike or other outdoor adventures. You'll see Air Quality Index (AQI), a measure of how healthy (or unhealthy) the air is, along with guidance for outdoor activities, when the information was last updated, and links to learn more.

Google Maps Air Quality Index Screenshots On Android

Google Maps Air Quality Index Screenshots On Android (Image credit: Google)

There are of course plenty of air quality index apps to be found in the App Store but placing it inside Google Maps means AQI can easily be checked for places that people are planning to visit, whether for work or pleasure.

Alongside AQI support, Google Maps now also has a layer designed to help people be more informed about any wildfires in the area. Google says that search interest in a number of wildfire-related terms has doubled over the past year, highlighting growing concern about the effects of wildfires.

The two new layers are available as part of the Google Maps app that is in the App Store now. Those who have the app installed already will see an update waiting for them, while everyone else can download Google Maps for free right now.

Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too. Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.