Google Maps adds a COVID-19 layer to track coronavirus trends by region

Google Maps adds a COVID-19 layer to track coronavirus trends by region

Earlier this year, Google Maps added new safety features to help people navigate the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, Google is adding a layer that will display COVID-19 outbreak data. The COVID-19 layer was originally discovered by Jane Manchun Wong earlier this month.

According to Google, the COVID-19 layer will show information for all 220 countries and territories that Google Maps supports, along with state or province, county, and city-level data where available. Information included in the COVID-19 layer will be sourced from “multiple authoritative sources,” such as Johns Hopkins, The New York Times, and Wikipedia. These sources, in turn, get data from public health organizations, including the World Health Organization.

The COVID-19 layer in Google Maps lets users see outbreak information by state and county.

Google said the new COVID-19 layer will display a seven-day average of new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people for the area of the map you’re looking at. Color coding will also be used to help people easily distinguish the density of new cases in an area, and there will be labels that indicate whether cases are trending up or down.

Since the outbreak of COVID-19 earlier this year, Google has been active in using its resources to help people track SARS-CoV-2. One of the company’s major initiatives saw it partner with Apple to create the Exposure Notifications System, an API and Bluetooth Low Energy spec designed to securely implement contact tracing in apps.

With summer winding down and the busy holiday period on the horizon — not to mention an election in the U.S. — being able to easily access COVID-19 data in such a widely used app should be helpful for people attempting to navigate the pandemic. Google said the new COVID-19 layer in Google Maps will roll out worldwide on Android and iOS beginning this week.

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Brandon Russell
Brandon Russell

Brandon's love of technology can be traced back to his childhood, when he would obsessively watch Back to the Future. Since then he's followed the industry and its many innovations, from handheld consoles to powerful smartphones. He's still waiting on a hoverboard.