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Google Earth update sinks Atlantis (again)

The city of Atlantis has disappeared a second time, thanks to a new update for Google Earth’s ocean topography extension.

A grid-like pattern on the ocean floor that had appeared in an early version of Google Ocean, an extension of Google Earth that mapped the ocean floor using available sonar data, has been removed in a new update intended to correct bad data. (You can see the old and new versions of the data in the image posted with this article.) Almost as soon as Google Ocean launched in 2009, the network of raised lines in the seafloor sparked discussion that the legendary lost city had been discovered.

“The original version of Google Ocean was a newly developed prototype map that had high resolution but also contained thousands of blunders related to the original archived ship data,” said David Sandwell, a Scripps geophysicist, in an official statement about the update. “UCSD undergraduate students spent the past three years identifying and correcting the blunders.”

The update to Google Ocean was rolled out this week, and included new data from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California in San Diego, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and various other groups.

There’s another major update planned for Google Ocean later this year that should increase its accuracy even further.

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