Google Maps First: Panoramic Underwater Images of World's Reefs
Google has partnered with a scientific expedition to photograph and catalog spectacular underwater images of some of the most beautiful ocean reefs around the world.For the first time, Google Maps is adding underwater panoramic images of spectacular reefs around the world to the extensive and growing library of images in its Street View collection. The new images, of underwater reefs in Australia, Hawaii and the Philippines, come to the Street View collection from the Caitlin Seaview Survey, which is conducting scientific expeditions to explore and map the world's coral reefs, according to Google. "Today we’re adding the very first underwater panoramic images to Google Maps, the next step in our quest to provide people with the most comprehensive, accurate and usable map of the world," wrote Brian McClendon, vice president of Google Maps and Google Earth, in a Sept. 25 post on the Google Lat Long Blog. "With these vibrant and stunning photos you don’t have to be a scuba diver—or even know how to swim—to explore and experience six of the ocean’s most incredible living coral reefs. Now, anyone can become the next virtual Jacques Cousteau and dive with sea turtles, fish and manta rays in Australia, the Philippines and Hawaii." The new images will allow online visitors to use Google Maps to see a sea turtle swimming among a school of fish, to follow a manta ray and to experience The Great Barrier Reef at sunset, wrote McClendon. "You can also find out much more about this reef via the World Wonders Project, a website that brings modern and ancient world heritage sites online. At Apo Island, a volcanic island and marine reserve in the Philippines, you can see an ancient boulder coral, which may be several hundred years old. And in the middle of the Pacific, in Hawaii, you can join snorkelers in Oahu’s Hanauma Bay and drift over the vast coral reef at Maui's Molokini crater." The colorful, detailed images were taken using a special tablet-operated underwater camera, the SVll, by the crew members of The Catlin Seaview Survey, wrote McClendon. "Whether you’re a marine biologist, an avid scuba diver or a landlocked landlubber, we encourage you to dive in and explore the ocean with Google Maps."