How to check air quality on Google Maps


Before venturing into the great outdoors this summer, there’s a new tool from Google Maps you may want to consider.

Google has introduced a tool for checking air quality conditions on both Android and iOS devices, to help “make more informed decisions about whether it’s safe to go on a hike or other outdoor adventures,” the company says.

The air quality layer tool indicates Air Quality Index (AQI), which is typically used by governmental agencies to inform the public about how polluted it is in a given location. Currently only available in the U.S., Google Maps will display data from the Environmental Protection Agency, along with PurpleAir, a sensor network that provides hyper-local air quality data.

Data from PurpleAir can also be found on Google Nest displays.

How to check air quality on Google Maps

1. Open up Google Maps and either hit the arrow button in the bottom right of the screen to pinpoint your location, or type the location you’re thinking of visiting in the search bar.

2. Press the layers button in the top right under the search bar to bring up the layers menu.

A screenshot of Google Maps showing the different layer widgets, including air quality.

There’s your air quality tool in the layers section.
Credit: Screenshot: Google Maps

3. From there, you can select “Air Quality” under Map details.

4. Google will then display the index, giving you up-to-date information about what it’s like outside in your location.

A screenshot of Google Maps showing the air quality displayed over locations in Los Angeles.

And there’s your air quality.
Credit: Screenshot: Google Maps

Alongside the air quality tool, Maps has also introduced a feature to prepare for wildfire season, allowing users to identify active fires in their areas.

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