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Google supports COVID-19 response efforts with maps and Android utility library update

Novel coronavirus has threatened the entire human civilization, deterring life, health, social functioning, economy and international relations like never before. In the fight against this pandemic, maps and data are playing a crucial role. From rapid visualization of epidemic information to spatial tracking of confirmed cases, prediction of regional transmission, spatial segmentation of the epidemic risk and prevention level, balancing and management of the supply and demand of material resources, and social-emotional guidance and panic elimination, the huge amount of data is helping decision makers to measure the impact and ensure prevention and control of the infection.

To strengthen the flow of good data, Google, under its data for good program is helping data scientists, analysts and, communities working in the effort to combat COVID-19 response in aggregating data, discovering new information and publishing them for the use. Let’s have a look at some of the initiatives of Google in this regard.

Google Maps Platform credits

The program is available to not-for-profit developers offering a publicly-available website or mobile app related to the COVID-19 pandemic. For this, developers and organizations can submit their application which will be closely reviewed by Google team to determine eligibility. Developers who need help getting started to quickly deliver helpful, needed services to their communities, can visit the developer resource hub for more info.

One can start by reviewing the eligibility details available on developer resource site. Websites and apps offering legitimate services and  disseminating information from authoritative sources like for example,  Centers for Disease Control, World Health Organization, state and local health agencies are eligible. After this a Google Cloud Platform account need to be created and then a billing account as required to administer the program credits. After submitting your application enable the Google Maps Platform APIs and SDKs you want to useand generate an API key to authenticate your requests to the platform.

For a complete list of setup steps and requirements, see Get Started with Google Maps Platform.  

Maps Android Utility Library v1.0

The Maps Android Utility Library started as a project in 2013 to provide additional functionality not covered by the Maps SDK for Android. These features were designed to be a part of a separate library, rather than included in the core SDK, to prevent bloating the SDK. While the Maps SDK for Android provides several customization options—like displaying markers, ground overlays, or drawing shapes on the map—the utility library allows you to extend these capabilities even further as your app requirements change over time. For example, with the utility library one can implement marker clustering, customize markers, and add heatmaps to your map. You can get the latest version of this on maven

In this latest version Google has also addressed stability issues and fixed several bugs with KML layers. This allow you to display and interact with multiple map layers, update items within a cluster and handle KMZ data types 

COVID-19 public dataset program

COVID-19 public dataset program is a hosted repository of public datasets COVID-19 Public Dataset Program.which is free to access. With this researchers can also use BigQuery ML to train advanced machine learning models with this data right inside BigQuery at no additional cost. These datasets remove barriers and provide access to critical information quickly and easily, eliminating the need to search for and onboard large data files. Researchers can access the datasets from within the Google Cloud Console, along with a description of the data and sample queries to advance research. All data we include in the program will be public and freely available. The program will remain in effect until September 15, 2020. 

Also Read: Apps and contact tracing