Virtual scuba diving for all
Google Maps will now let users access panoramic underwater pictures from certain parts of the world.
Announcing the feature, Brian McClendon, VP of Google Maps and Earth said in a blog post, “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.”
Google partnered with The Catlin Seaview Survey, a major scientific study of the world’s reefs, to make these pictures available. The Survey team used a specially designed underwater camera, the SVII, to capture the stunning photos. All images are in panoramic mode and you can zoom in and out.
Some may argue about the actual utility of this latest add-on but Google and The Catlin Seaview Survey hope that as more people see the images, they will realise the urgency with which coral reefs and sea life need to be preserved. And there’s no denying that the images are incredible.
Currently, mapped areas include parts of the Great Barrier Reef, Hawaii and the Philippines. Check them out here.