Google Expands Environmental Mapping Tools

air quality mapping tool shows data with satellite image

(Credit: Google)

by | Aug 29, 2023

air quality mapping tool shows data with satellite image

(Credit: Google)

Google is expanding its sustainability offerings with new products from its Google Maps platform, including mapping technologies for solar energy, air quality, and pollen distribution.

The mapping tools use AI and machine learning paired with aerial imagery and environmental data to provide valuable information for developers, businesses, and organizations to track and mitigate their environmental impact.

As climate change becomes more prevalent, various mapping technologies have been created to help improve climate resilience, especially for at-risk communities. Google’s new tools will contribute to these recent efforts.

Sunlight Mapping for Optimal Solar Panel Placement

Google’s new Solar API expands on its Project Sunroof program, going from residential implementation to wider use by businesses interested in estimating solar potential and savings in a given area. The new technology uses an AI model to take in 3D information from aerial images and includes factors like trees, shade, historical weather patterns in the region, and energy costs.

Data will be available for more than 320 million buildings across 40 countries, allowing companies and homeowners to see how much sunlight a given building receives. This should help in promoting more solar panel installations, contributing to continued grid decarbonization.

Targeted Air Quality Information

Especially as air quality is affected by the increasing number of wildfires occurring worldwide, more and more people are having to make informed decisions about when and where they may go outside.

The Google Map Air Quality API includes air quality data, pollution heat maps, and pollutant details for over 100 countries. The tool takes information from government monitoring stations, meteorological data, sensors, and satellites to provide local and universal air quality indexes. Calculations also include information like traffic congestion and car data in order to predict the types of pollutants in a given area.

Forecasting Pollen Allergens

Finally, Google’s new Pollen API includes pollen information for the most common allergens as pollen production increases due to rising temperatures and greenhouse gas emissions.

Through this technology, machine learning identifies where specific pollen-producing plants are located and combines this information with wind pattern data in order to predict how pollen will spread in a given area. The tool also provides actionable items for those who suffer from allergies so they may limit exposure.

Altogether, these new Google Maps additions can help businesses develop sustainable products and strategies and help individuals adapt to the growing impacts of climate change.

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