On Wednesday (23 September), Google Maps announced that it is rolling out local Covid-19 data to help users understand how many cases are in a particular area.
Sujoy Banerjee, product manager at Google Maps, made the announcement in a company blogpost where he explained how the new Covid-19 layer will work on the navigation app.
The company already has some existing measures in place to help users make travel decisions during the pandemic, such as Covid-19 alerts in transit; Covid-19 checkpoints in driving navigation and features that show popular visiting times and real-time levels of busyness at venues.
The new Covid-19 layer for Google Maps will show critical information about Covid-19 cases in an area so that users can make informed decisions about where to go and what to do.
How it works
Banerjee explained that users will be able to tap on the layers button on the top righthand corner of the screen to select “Covid-19 info”.
This will show users a seven-day average of new Covid-19 cases per 100,000 people for the area of the map they’re looking at. Google Maps also provides a label that indicates whether the cases are trending up or down.
Banerjee said: “Trending case data is visible at the country level for all 220 countries and territories that Google Maps supports, along with state or province, county and city-level data where available.”
Data featured in the new Covid-19 layer on Google Maps comes from a number of sources including John Hopkins University, the New York Times and Wikipedia. These sources already power Covid-19 case information in Google’s search engine.
Banerjee said that each of these sources get their data from public health organisations such as the World Health Organization (WHO), government health ministries, along with state and local health agencies and hospitals.
“While getting around is more complicated these days, our hope is that these Google Maps features will help you get where you need to be as safely and efficiently as possible,” Banerjee said. “The Covid-19 layer starts rolling out worldwide on Android and iOS this week.”
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