Google Maps Directs You Away from COVID-19 Hotspots
When you’re in a rush, Google Maps can be a wonderful tool for avoiding sticky traffic or roads closed for construction. Now, Google Maps can protect your health too by showing COVID-19 case density by location.
The Google Maps help page explains: “If your area is affected by COVID-19, you can use Google Maps to get relevant information about affected locations.” The new data is displayed on the map as a layer that can be turned on or off. The color coding shows users if they are traveling to an area with high COVID-19 levels with many new cases.
Why is Google adding this tool? In an update posted on the web, Sujoy Banerjee, a product manager at Google Maps, called it “a tool that displays vital information about COVID-19 cases in an area so you can make more informed decisions about where to go and what to do . “
To use the new cards on your phone or mobile device:
- Open the app
- At the top right, click Layers (it looks like three pieces of paper stacked on top of each other).
- In “Levels” selected “COVID-19 Info”
“The COVID-19 shift shows the 7-day average for the number of new cases per 100,000 people. It also shows whether the cases are increasing or decreasing, ”explains the website.
The color code is:
- Gray: Less than 1 case
- Yellow: 1-10 cases
- Orange: 10-20 cases
- Dark orange: 20-30 cases
- Red: 30-40 cases
- Dark red: 40+ cases
According to Mr Banerjee [T]Rending case data is displayed at the country level for all 220 countries and territories supported by Google Maps, along with data at the state or province, county, and city level, if available. “
How accurate is this information? Google Maps sources Wikipedia, the New York Times, John Hopkins COVID-19 Dashboard and the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation. Google regularly uses data from these sources for some of its other COVID-19 analyzes.
This new map layer complements the other COVID-19 functions of Google Maps, e.g. B. Closed store warnings, delays in transit, updates to delivery and picking, and, in some countries, information about test locations.
According to an article by TechCrunch, an online publication that follows the technology, there are no plans to expand the app to desktop Google Maps.
Sabrina Emms is a science journalist. She began as an intern on a health and science podcast on Philadelphia public radio. Before that, she worked as a researcher studying the way bones are formed. When she is not in the lab and at her computer, she is in the moonlight as an assistant to a pig veterinarian and bagel baker.