Google Maps prepares to add a “Lighting” layer to highlight brightly lit streets for safer night travel

Google Maps prepares to add a “Lighting” layer to highlight brightly lit streets for safer night travel

Google Maps is one of the most popular navigation apps, with millions of users relying on it for their daily commute across familiar routes, as well as to guide them along unfamiliar territory. For those instances when you are visiting a new area for the first time, Google has worked to introduce features like a Translate button for names and addresses, the ability to find compatible plugs for your electric vehicle, and even alerts for when your taxi goes off route. Now, Google is preparing to introduce a new layer to Google Maps called “Lighting”, aiming to highlight streets that are brightly lit.


An APK teardown can often predict features that may arrive in a future update of an application, but it is possible that any of the features we mention here may not make it in a future release. This is because these features are currently unimplemented in the live build and may be pulled at any time by the developers in a future build.

Google Maps v10.31.0 beta contains strings that indicate that Google is working on a new feature that will help make your night time travels a bit safer. According to the string descriptions, this new Lighting Layer will highlight streets that have good lighting with a yellow color highlight, and by extension, help users avoid streets with poor or no lighting.

<string name="LAYER_SAFETY">Lighting</string>\n<string name="SAFETY_LAYER_ONBOARDING_DIALOG_BODY">Yellow lines show streets with good lighting</string>\n<string name="SAFETY_LAYER_ONBOARDING_DIALOG_BUTTON_START">Start</string>\n<string name="SAFETY_LAYER_ONBOARDING_DIALOG_NO_LIGHTING_INDICATOR">No lighting info available</string>\n<string name="SAFETY_LAYER_ONBOARDING_DIALOG_POOR_LIT_INDICATOR">Poor to no lighting</string>\n<string name="SAFETY_LAYER_ONBOARDING_DIALOG_TITLE">See how brightly lit the streets are</string>\n<string name="SAFETY_LAYER_ONBOARDING_DIALOG_WELL_LIT_INDICATOR">Good lighting</string>\n<string name="SAFETY_LAYER_TOOLTIP_PROMO">New! See how brightly lit the streets are</string>\n<string name="SAFETY_LAYER_UNAVAILABLE">"Lighting view isn't available at this zoom or in this region"</string>\n<string name="SAFETY_LAYER_ZOOM_IN_SNACKBAR">Zoom in more to see lighting data.</string>

We do not have screenshots of the feature as it is still in development, and not yet live.

There is no indication in the strings that this feature will be specific to any region, but a good educated guess would be that this will be piloted in India first, and then rolled out to other parts of the world. India has very recently seen horrific incidents of rape that have shaken up the entire country. While a discussion on the root cause of this social evil is beyond the scope of our website, a feature like this within Google Maps will help women feel relatively safer than before when traveling at night. This will also help all individuals for their night travels through unfamiliar territory, say in a new country, as tourists would prefer traversing through a well-lit street. It isn’t immediately clear how Google will collect data on street lighting though, and how it will keep it up-to-date and realtime.

Thanks to PNF Software for providing us a license to use JEB Decompiler, a professional-grade reverse engineering tool for Android applications.

About author

Aamir Siddiqui
Aamir Siddiqui

A journalist at XDA-Developers and the current Editor in Chief, I have been writing for XDA since 2015, despite being a qualified business-litigation lawyer. A low-end smartphone purchase in 2011 brought me to the forums, and it's been a journey filled with custom ROMs ever since. When not fully dipped in smartphone news and tutorials, I love traveling to places just to capture pictures of the sun setting. You can reach out to me at [email protected] And my Twitter is @aamirsidd94.

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