Google Maps has become an indispensable tool for many of us when we travel, offering a good enough one-stop solution for our navigation and exploration needs at most times. Google is constantly working on improving aspects of the service, recently adding landmark icons and a feature that alerts you when your taxi is going off-route. It looks like the company is also preparing a layer that highlights brightly lit streets so you can stay safe at night, especially when walking alone.
Our friends at XDA Developers found some strings in the beta version of Google Maps 10.31.0 hinting at the introduction of a lighting layer. It'll surface yellow lines to highlight brightly lit streets, helping you avoid the other potentially less secure places. Since the feature isn't live yet, we don't have any screenshots to share, but we assume that the button to activate it will sit among the other layer options in the top right corner of the Maps interface.
<string name="SAFETY_LAYER_ONBOARDING_DIALOG_BODY">Yellow lines show streets with good lighting</string>
<string name="SAFETY_LAYER_ONBOARDING_DIALOG_NO_LIGHTING_INDICATOR">No lighting info available</string>
<string name="SAFETY_LAYER_ONBOARDING_DIALOG_POOR_LIT_INDICATOR">Poor to no lighting</string>
<string name="SAFETY_LAYER_ONBOARDING_DIALOG_TITLE">See how brightly lit the streets are</string>
<string name="SAFETY_LAYER_ONBOARDING_DIALOG_WELL_LIT_INDICATOR">Good lighting</string>
<string name="SAFETY_LAYER_TOOLTIP_PROMO">New! See how brightly lit the streets are</string>
<string name="SAFETY_LAYER_UNAVAILABLE">"Lighting view isn't available at this zoom or in this region"</string>
<string name="SAFETY_LAYER_ZOOM_IN_SNACKBAR">Zoom in more to see lighting data.</string>
The strings don't mention if the feature is limited to specific locations in the beginning, but it's safe to believe that Google will probably first test it in restricted capacity. Either way, the lighting layer will be especially useful for tourists or travellers unfamiliar with their territory as well as demographics at risk. The addition of this feature might also come in part because of recent discussions about safe and well-lit walking routes for women, which are notably absent in any mapping service so far.
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.
(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?
— Alex Chan (@alexwlchan) September 29, 2019
You can download the latest beta of Maps by signing up for it on the Play Store, or get it straight from APK Mirror. As mentioned above, the feature isn't live yet, but using that version might help you get the street lighting layer as one of the first when Google flips the switch.
- XDA Developers