You've heard of 'street view', now Google Maps introduces 'ocean view' of the Great Barrier Reef in Queensland, Australia.
1 October 2012
Anyone with an internet connection will be able to take a virtual dive on selected sites on the Great Barrier Reef thanks to funding by insurance company Catlin and University of Queensland's Global Change Institute.
These are interactive maps of the Great Barrier Reef (you can zoom in/out and move the image 360°):
Map 1 (added 1 October 2012):
Map 2 (added 4 October 2012):
The Underwater Earth project uses data and imagery from the Catlin Seaview Survey project – a series of expeditions aiming to explore and survey the health of coral reefs worldwide.
Based at the underwater research station on Heron Island, the team has surveyed and captured the underwater environments of Heron and Lady Elliot Island and are currently anchored on the northern reefs of the Coral Sea.
Using cameras and underwater robots controlled by specially designed Samsung Galaxy tablets, the team can capture up to 50,000 panoramic underwater images and stitch them together into a navigable "reef view" panorama.
Casual visitors can go for a virtual dive and learn more about the marine environment.
This database will enable scientists worldwide to monitor the health of coral reef systems worldwide and their response to climate change.
The project's chief scientist, Professor Ove Hoegh-Guldberg from the University of Queensland's Global Change Institute calls the project a "game-changing scientific tool that scientists around the world will have at their fingertips".
"They will be able to monitor change in the marine environment now and in the future," he said.
"Marine scientists researching any aspect of the reef will be able to study these environments from any of the surveys we conduct."
The first Catlin Seaview expedition launched on September 16 this year with 20 separate reefs on the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea scheduled for surveying before the team moves on to overseas locations in 2013.
Where in the world would you most like to see "ocean view" go underwater? Leave a comment!Show Images