3 new APIs to monitor environmental conditions

Climate change is a defining challenge of our generation, and addressing it requires collective effort. To help everyone take action, we’re working to share insights about the planet through tools and technologies — like Google Earth, Earth Engine and Environmental Insights Explorer — that combine a rich map of the world with advanced AI. With insights into how the planet is changing, we can build sustainability tools and support other organizations to do the same. And we can work toward our ambition to help individuals, cities, and partners collectively reduce 1 gigaton of their carbon equivalent emissions annually by 2030.

Now we’re expanding our sustainability offerings with new products in Google Maps Platform. These products apply AI and machine learning, along with aerial imagery and environmental data, to provide up-to-date information about solar potential, air quality and pollen levels. With this technology, developers, businesses and organizations can build tools that map and mitigate environmental impact.

Mapping the potential of solar energy

To encourage the use of solar technology, we launched Project Sunroof in 2015 to help people explore the estimated solar potential and savings in their area. Companies soon became interested in accessing this information too, and now, we’re offering this information to businesses. Our new Solar API uses mapping and computing resources to make detailed rooftop solar potential data available for more than 320 million buildings across 40 countries, like the U.S., France and Japan.

To get these insights, we trained an AI model to extract 3D information about the roof geometry directly from aerial imagery, along with details about trees and shade. Plus, the Solar API accounts for factors like historical weather patterns in the area, energy costs and more. This means that businesses like solar installers can see how much sunlight buildings receive and potential energy savings, before even visiting the area. In turn, this technology allows homeowners to more quickly and easily install solar panels and contribute sustainable energy to the grid.

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