Google launches Street View for the Ocean

Google has added Street View to the ocean in Google Maps.

It is essentially a collection of underwater panoramas, which allow you to explore the incredible ocean world virtually. The images were captured by The Catlin Seaview Survey, a series of scientific expeditions to study and record the world’s oceans and reefs, using the SVII, a special underwater camera mounted on a scooter that a diver uses to capture rapid 360-degree photos along the reef.

They documented six different coral reef locations that make up the collection - three separate spots on the Great Barrier Reef, two in Hawaii, and one in the Philippines - which are now available to view and explore. More sites are yet to come - they will visit 20 more sites along the Great Barrier Reef by the end of December this year, and add additional locations in 2013 including Hawaii, the Philippines, and Bermuda. Eventually they will include deep reefs that will be surveyed by robots.

At a time when we know more about the surface of the moon than we do about the ocean on our own planet, we are thrilled to see such a great effort to not only explore and document marine habitats, but also to share them with the rest of the world. This makes the ocean accessible in a new way: it doesn’t matter how far you live from a coast or how well you can swim, you can now travel halfway around the world, hop in the water, and go for a dive – right from your computer.

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