Yesterday, Google unveiled an awesome new addition to StreetView – underwater panoramic views of the ocean from six locations around the globe. Taking users on a virtual adventure under the sea, the project aims to create a virtual map of the oceans to educate people on the fragile environment so few get to see up close.
The new “OceanViews,” as we’ve come to call them, can be accessed by heading over to maps.google.com/ocean, where users are virtually taken to six mesmerizing locations, such as the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, Apo Island in the Philippines and Oahu’s Hanauma Bay.
Google teamed up with the The Catlin Seaview Survey, a large-scale scientific study of the world’s coral reefs, to deliver the beautiful images of sea turtles, manta rays and most importantly, the coral reefs we should all be anxiously doing our part to protect. The Catlin crew used a specially designed underwater camera, controlled by a Samsung tablet, to capture the photos now being shared with millions.
In a recent chat with BoinBoing’s Xeni Jardin, Project Director at Catlin Richard Vevers was asked why they chose to partner with Google in the project:
“The biggest problem with the ocean is that it’s out of sight and out of mind for most of us,” Vevers told BoingBoing. “99% of people have never gone for a dive and never will. One of the biggest issues around conservation is engaging people with the ocean, and this is a powerful way to accomplish that. It is a scientific project to create a baseline for observing how the oceans are changing, but it also creates awareness of why that matters.”
Google released a nice video previewing the new ocean views, which you can check out below, but if you want to get the real experience we suggest you head over to Google Maps and start searching.