The latest Google Maps update brings another tool to combat the ongoing pandemic as now users will be able to access the COVID layer, which colour codes areas on the map, based on the density of new cases reported.
The layers icon near the top-right corner of the Maps app screen will now also feature the COVID layer. Tapping on it will enable people to see a seven-day average of newly reported COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people in the area of the map on the display.
The trending case data at the country-level will be available in all the 220 countries and territories where Google Maps works. However, state, province, country and city-level data aren’t available at all the places.
The update will be rolling out for Google Maps on Android and iOS worldwide this week as the company aims to enable users to make more informed decisions while travelling.
“Data featured in the COVID layer comes from multiple authoritative sources, including Johns Hopkins, the New York Times, and Wikipedia. These sources get data from public health organizations like the World Health Organization, government health ministries, along with state and local health agencies and hospitals. Many of these sources already power COVID case information in Search, and we’re now expanding this data to Google Maps,” announced Sujoy Banerjee, Product Manager, Google Maps.
With the addition of COVID layer to Maps, Google is building upon its previous update to Search from last month, which started displaying COVID-19 related information on travel queries on Search, including restrictions and advisories for the destination and also the percentage of open hotels and flights operating in the area.
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