Google Maps may soon highlight well-lit streets for walkers

Google to provide Android operating system for media displays in cars

New Lighting layer could make walking at night safer.

Google Maps is great for getting directions while driving and using public transport, but in the last year it has been rolling out more features focused on traveling by foot as well. Recently, the company introduced AR walking directions and detailed spoken walking directions for people with vision impairments. In the future, Google may be adding a new feature to help people find safer streets to walk at night.

According to XDA Developers, an Android development community whose members have analyzed the Android APK to look for unreleased features, there are indications of a new Lighting layer in Google Maps. This layer would indicate which streets are brightly lit by street lights by showing a yellow highlight.

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Future of Fireflies Threatened by Artificial Lighting


Time-lapse photography shows the chaotic flight patterns of insects under a street lamp

For most of human history, when the sun set and night descended it meant that it was time to sleep. But, as our earliest ancestors learned to create fire, they found they could extend their days beyond the confines of daylight–and it was in these flame-lit hours, after the hunts had ended and labor halted, that men and women first began to craft their stories and culture around a fire their evening repose. The ancient Greeks were the first to use street lamps: burning oil to light obstacles on a path or to keep danger at bay. Artificial lighting has come a long way since then, so much so that nowadays many city dwellers can spend years without seeing natural darkness. But, for all the comfort and security we draw from our nighttime lights, new literature suggests that it may be harming species that only know the sun and moon.

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