Google recently introduced a new data layer in Maps which will inform you of COVID-19 cases and trends in your area. They have long since been a source that people turn to for reliable information regarding natural disasters like earthquakes and tsunamis and their mission statement includes organizing data and making it accessible to everyone, so it’s no surprise that they’ve stepped in to provide such a service.
How to use it
If you open Maps on your phone, you’ll see what’s called the ‘layers’ button at the top right. After that, you’ll just need to click on ‘COVID-19 info’. The layer displays the weekly average for the number of new cases per 100,000 people. You can tell whether cases near you are increasing or decreasing using their handy color coding chart:
Grey: Less than 1 caseGoogle Support
Yellow: 1-10 cases
Orange: 10-20 cases
Dark orange: 20-30 cases
Red: 30-40 cases
Dark red: 40+ cases
Many people have yet to see the new data layer on their iPhones and it has yet to show up on the web version of Google Maps too. Some Android users also report that the feature hasn’t dropped into their app yet. Google normally rolls things like this out slowly as a server side update, so just sit tight and keep checking. Everything you see in the COVID-19 layer comes from a bunch of sources like Johns Hopkins, the New York Times and Wikipedia. While that last one may make you a bit uneasy, they all claim to get their information from the World Health Organization (WHO), government health ministries, state and local health agencies and hospitals.
Where to learn more
Google also provides tons of up to date information regarding COVID-19 right through a simple Google search for the keyword and through a dedicated COVID-19 page. Lastly, you can find information about how to support your local businesses during this unprecedented time right on their Maps listing as seen in the photo below. Google is doing a lot to help its users stay informed and to make safe decisions regarding their health and that of their loved ones during the pandemic.