Google regularly adds handy features to its Maps app. For example, during the pandemic, the firm offered new features to help us move around while avoiding crowds as much as possible. Google has also added a layer on its maps to allow us to know the health situation in each country.
And this week, Google Maps is also getting a layer for forest fires. “With climate change, forest fires are more and more frequent in many parts of the world”, explains Rebecca Moore, director of Google Earth and Earth Engine.
Last year, Google launched a map in the United States to locate forest fires, using satellite data. And today, based on this feature, Google decides to collect all the information on forest fires and to group all this information on Google Maps layer.
“With the Wildfire layer, you can get up-to-date details on multiple fires at once, allowing you to make quick and informed decisions in an emergency. Just tap on a fire to see available links to local government resources, such as emergency websites, phone numbers for help and information, and evacuation details ”, says Moore.
When more information is available, Google Maps will display it. This may include details of fire fighting, area burned, etc.
This new layer on Google Maps will be deployed worldwide on the Android application from this week. The Google Maps iOS app and web version will be updated later in October. Google says this layer will show most major fires that cause large evacuations.
In the United States, the layer will be particularly detailed, thanks to data from the National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC). But Google intends to offer this level of detail in other countries in the coming months.
Google will also indicate where to plant trees
Google is also announcing the expansion of its Tree Canopy Insights initiative, which will now cover 100 cities around the world by 2022. But what is it? In essence, Google uses aerial images, coupled with artificial intelligence, to identify places that are at risk of experiencing temperature increases.
“These places, known as heat islands, have a disproportionate impact on low-income communities and contribute to a number of public health issues, from poor air quality to dehydration.”, writes Rebecca Moore.
Tree Canopy data therefore allows authorities to access information on where to plant trees to increase shade and reduce heat.