Google will be rolling out a new feature designed to help users in the event of natural disasters.
Google is updating its Google Maps app to show users where natural disasters are expected to strike and how these events will impact navigation. The new features will be available on iOS for Apple users, Android and the web.
The new features will focus on three kinds of natural disasters: hurricanes, earthquakes and floods.
For hurricanes, Google Maps will show a hurricane visualization if you are in or near the area. This visualization will map the projected trajectory of the hurricane and provide information about the date/times it is expected to strike.
For earthquakes, the Maps app will show a “shake map” that provides a visualization of the earthquake’s epicenter and magnitude. The map will be color-coded to show the severity of impact at the epicenter and surrounding areas.
For floods, Google maps will have flooding forecasts that will show where flood waters are likely to flow and the expected severity.
While in navigation mode, the Maps app is expected to be to warn drivers if their route is impacted by disaster and provide alternate routes. In addition, drivers will be able to share their location with family and friends. There will also be a traffic layer that can show expected road closures.
According to USA Today, Google will be drawing the data for the natural disaster warnings from external sources, such as the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Japan Meteorological Agency, U.S. Geological Survey and others.
The hurricane and earthquake features will be rolling out over the course of coming weeks. However, the flood features will only be available in India initially. According to Google, the Maps app will later provide warnings for tornadoes, monsoons and other disasters.