Users should be able to view forest fires, canopy and sites without an official address more easily thanks to the new features of Google Maps. According to the company, it is about making communities “safer, more sustainable and more discoverable”.
Google today announced that a new layer of wildfire on Maps will begin rolling out internationally this week. It will display the majority of large fires around the world that have caused evacuations. The red spots and pins on the layer will indicate where the flames are and how far they have spread.
Users can get more information about a specific wildfire by tapping on it, such as number of acres burned, percentage of fire contained, and links to local emergency resources.
The map is updated approximately every hour. It uses data collected by satellites and analyzed by Google’s Earth Engine geospatial analysis engine.
It is developing a feature that Google tested in California in 2019, then rolled out in the United States in 2020. The pilot allowed Americans to monitor the changing borders of a nearby wildfire in near real time, but it didn’t. was not the case. allow users to view multiple fires at once.
This was a limitation because many fires could break out in the same area at the same time during the fire season, which is getting longer and more intense in the western United States due to climate change.
Users in the United States will not only have a bird’s eye view of the large flames nearby, but they will also be able to see tiny fires on the map, which is a feature not available in other parts of the world. According to Google, Australia and a few other regions could acquire this capability “in the coming months”.
However, there is one constraint that Google has yet to address with the Forest Fire Layer. It can only be updated if the user is connected to the internet, which can be problematic when power lines and mobile towers are destroyed by forest fires.
The other two improvements mentioned by Google are primarily aimed at providing improved planning and mapping capabilities to local governments.
Last year, Google opened a Tree Canopy Lab in Los Angeles to help the city identify areas where more trees are needed. Increasing the amount of vegetation in some areas is a strategy to reduce heat-related illnesses and deaths in areas most vulnerable to heat waves.
Temperatures can vary widely from neighborhood to neighborhood depending on the amount of greenery present, a pattern exacerbated by America’s long history of racial segregation.
In 2022, Tree Canopy will be available in more than 100 other cities, including Guadalajara, London, Sydney and Toronto, according to Google. It uses photos obtained from an airplane for Google Maps to map the density of tree cover.
People who reside in places without an official address have always had more difficulty in tor use Google Maps. As a result, it has become more difficult for parcels and emergency services such as ambulances to reach many people in rural areas and underdeveloped countries where addresses are not widely available.
As a result, Google today released Address Maker, a new program that makes it easier for governments and non-governmental organizations to create their own maps to fill in the gaps.
Address Maker follows on from current Google Plus Codes, which allow users to share their location with a six-digit code rather than an address. (Plus Codes are also available for locations with standard addresses.) For example, the Plus Code for Google Headquarters is CWC8 + R9 Mountain View, California.)
A Plus Code for a place without an address will appear on Google Maps, but not a route to it. Address Maker intends to make it faster and easier for government and local activists to assign more codes to sites and trace previously unmapped roads for an entire community. The Plus Codes are accessible offline and use an open source algorithm.