Google Adds COVID-19 Layer to Popular Maps App

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Maps App on smartphone.
Google Maps app works on both Android and iOS smartphones. {Tech} for Travel. https://techfortravel.wpengine.com

Scan for COVID-19 Hotspots in Google Maps

In its latest update to one of the best all-round travel apps out there, Google has added a COVID-19 layer to both iOS and Android Maps app.

Following on from the alerts and notifications Google has already built-in for when you are out and about using public transport, the new layer helps you plan any journey ahead of time.

The data powering the new layer comes from “multiple authoritative sources” as Google describes them. These include:

  • Johns Hopkins University
  • The New York Times
  • Wikipedia
  • Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation
COVID-19 Layer Icon. {Tech} for Travel. https://techfortravel.wpengine.com
New COVID-19 Layer // Image {Tech} for Travel.

This week, we’re introducing the COVID layer in Maps, a tool that shows critical information about COVID-19 cases in an area so you can make more informed decisions about where to go and what to do. 

Google Maps

How to use COVID-19 Layer in Google Maps

Google began rolling out the new layer from the 23rd September, so make sure your app is the latest version.

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You can check on the Google Play Store or App Store for Apple. For Apple users, this should be version 5.53 and above, Android versions vary by the device.

Layers button in Google Maps for iPhone. {Tech} for Travel. https://techfortravel.wpengine.com
Layers Button on iOS // Image {Tech} for Travel.
Toggle On/Off

Open the Google Maps app on your device and press on the layers icon, usually found in the top right corner of the map view.

It looks like an angled square with an arrow below it.

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A new slide will appear from the bottom, over the map, with a number of options. In the Map Details section you will find a new option called COVID-19 Info.

Select the COVID-19 Layer option for it to appear on Google Maps and close the pop-up.

Layer options in Google Maps. {Tech} for Travel. https://techfortravel.wpengine.com
Select the COVID-19 Layer // Image {Tech} for Travel.

Once back in the map, you may need to zoom out slightly, and Google Maps will now have a colour coded layer over your region and country.

How to Read the Data

Once applied the COVID-19 Layer shows a colour coded overlay of a 7-day average number of cases per 100,000.

The system is as follows:

  • Grey // 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

Along with the colour coding, the exact number will be shown along with an icon to demonstrate if that area is increasing or decreasing. Again, based on the 7-day average.

Google Maps COVID-19 layer in iOS app for North America. {Tech} for Travel. https://techfortravel.wpengine.com
A West/East coast view of the US // Image {Tech} for Travel.

You’ll need to apply the layer each time you open the app, I assume so it can pull the latest averages.

Join the Conversation

Google Maps is any travellers best app, and the new COVID-19 Layer is a great addition.

Do you rely on the Google Maps app? What is your favourite feature?

Is there something it doesn’t do you’d like to see Google add?

Comment below or join the conversation on Twitter.

Visit support.google.com/maps for further information.

2 COMMENTS

  1. It would be more useful to have the 7 day total rather than average since most travel restrictions works on that.

    • Great point! I’m not sure what the driver was for using the average. I’ll take any correct data over no data but I’ve noticed some news outlets prefer the average and others the total for the period.

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