Developers have discovered a new Google Maps feature that could make traveling at night safer.
Earlier this week, XDA-Developers spotted code for a new “lighting” layer on Google Maps that would tell users information about street lighting. Users will be able to see which streets are best lit based on a yellow highlight color.
The feature will likely be particularly useful to those driving or walking at night or those in a new city who want to avoid streets with poor visibility. The Maps layer should be able to show if a street has good light, poor to no lighting, or if there isn’t any information on the lighting available.
It is not yet clear how Google will source information for this lighting feature, nor how it will keep that information up-to-date.
The feature will likely debut in India and, after a test run, could expand to other parts of the world, according to XDA-Developers. But, because this is just a feature that is still in development, it is not yet live and there is no guarantee that it ever will be.
Information about safer routes is one feature that users have been coveting, often tweeting about it in conjunction with walking home alone. The feature could allow users to make better-informed, safer decisions about their walking routes at night.
If you’re out walking at night, there’s no way to ask a mapping app to pick a route that’s well-lit and safe.— Alex Chan (@alexwlchan) September 29, 2019
(Often used as an argument for diverse teams – women are more likely to worry about walking in the dark than men.)
So I’ve been wondering: how do you pick those routes?
I wish Google Maps had a "I'm walking home by myself at night" mode that would show you a way with well lit paths and open spaces. It always seems to take you on narrow, dark pathways in cities 😕— Emily 艾米莉 💜 (@kanocarra) September 22, 2019
Although we’ll have to wait for the lighting feature to roll out, there are plenty of other Google Maps tricks that you can use right now. The app will now tell you how crowded your train is before you board, and it can even send personalized restaurant recommendations based on where you usually like to dine.