Web

Google Maps now lets armchair scuba divers explore the Great Barrier Reef and more

google maps dives into the great barrier reef with first underwater panoramas street view under waterWhen we tell you that Google Street View now takes you into the sea, you might initially think the service must be suffering from similar glitches to Apple’s new Maps app, which appears to have been getting more things wrong than right since its launch last week.

But Google Maps’ new underwater feature is just as it should be. Indeed, armchair travelers, non-swimmers and marine enthusiasts will be delighted to learn that the Web giant has today unveiled some beautiful coral reef panoramas, allowing users to explore spectacular ocean scenery off the coast of Australia, the Philippines, and Hawaii.

Apple’s Maps developers, currently working on taking cities out of the water and placing them back on land, must surely be looking on with envy just now.

“Starting today, you can use Google Maps to find a sea turtle swimming among a school of fish, follow a manta ray and experience the reef at sunset — just as I did on my first dive in the Great Barrier Reef last year,” Google Maps’ Brian McClendon wrote in a post on the company’s blog.

Collaboration

Google worked with the Catlin Sea Survey, the University of Queensland’s Global Change Institute and the Underwater Earth organization to collect the incredibly detailed, high definition images.

Traveling to a depth of up to 100 meters, a specially-designed camera snapped pictures of unique underwater locations such as Australia’s Great Barrier Reef and Hawaii’s Hanauma Bay, with a team of experts later stitching them together to form the 360-degree panoramas.

Speaking about the sea mapping expedition earlier this year, project leader Ove Hoegh-Guldberg of the University of Queensland said, “The visual nature of the project will help bridge the gap between scientific knowledge and public awareness. The Catlin Seaview Survey comprises a series of studies which will reveal to the public one of the last frontiers on Earth: the oceans.”

 The video below gives you some idea of what to expect when you dive in.

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