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(Pocket-lint) - Google is rolling out a new Air Quality Index layer to Google Maps on iPhone and Android, allowing you to check air pollution across the United States at any time.

That means if you're planning a trip and are sensitive to pollen or other allergens/pollutants in the air, you can check levels before you set off. If a city is smoggy, or experiencing really poor air quality, you'll be able to see it. 

Similarly, there's also a wildfire layer being added to Maps in the US, allowing you to see how those have impacted the air in affected areas and avoid them. Data is provided by the EPA, PurpleAir and other 'trusted government agencies'. 

How do I use the Air Quality Index layer in Google Maps? 

When you open Google Maps on iPhone or Android, find a location you want to check in the US. Now tap the layers icon in the top corner which looks like two sqares stacked on top of eachother. 

You'll now see a pop-up menu appear with the usual ability to select map types and details. Under 'Map details', tap 'Air Quality' and/or 'Wildfires'. Once selected you'll see a colour-coded score. The lower, the better with anything under 50, in the green zone, deemed 'good'. 

How else can I check it? 

This new feature isn't just in the Google Maps app, you can find the information simply by searching in Google. Search for 'Air quality near me' or 'Air quality in [US location name] and you'll see the same detailed information. 

Where is Google Maps AQI layer available? 

At this moment in time, the Air Quality Index layer is only available for locations in the United States. The feature hasn't been rolled out in any other nation at this point. However, anyone from anywhere can check it in the app, but will only see the data appear for the US. 

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What devices can I check it on? 

Google has rolled out the feature to the Google Maps app for both Android and iPhone, so if you have it installed, and you're in the US (or travelling to the US) you can check it in the app. You can also use the Google app or Google Search in your web browser to search specifically for 'Air Quality in [location name]'. 

Writing by Cam Bunton.