Here at Scuba Diver Life, we’ve previously covered Google’s expansions of its popular Maps service to include underwater imagery as well. This part of the service got a huge boost today, June 8th, in celebration of World Oceans Day.
Google Maps’ Streetview concept, a revolution in mapping technology, features high quality pictures of streets and allows the user a first-person view of a given location. The service first rolled out in a select number of U.S. cities, but has since expanded to a number of other countries, and now includes the interior of select buildings. The technology required the transportation of a 360-degree camera on top of a car, a bicycle, or a backpack-style setup through an area; the digital pictures were then rendered into Maps.
A few years ago, Google went one step further and included a small portion of the world’s oceans to the (now increasingly incorrectly named) Streetview service. And today, in celebration of the World Oceans Day, a total of 40 new locations, and with that a host of new data, becomes available.
The new imagery includes the famous USAT Liberty wreck off of Tulamben, Indonesia, the Jacques Cousteau Park in Guadeloupe and several locations on the Great Barrier Reef, Australia.
The material was collected by a number of organizations working to map the oceans through comprehensive, high-quality imagery. The project was realized through collaboration with the XL Catlin Seaview Survey, the Office of National Marine Sanctuaries under the North Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA), and the Chagos Conservation Trust.
About the project, Google released the following statement on their LatLong blog:
“Covering more than 70 percent of the Earth’s surface, the ocean remains one of the most uncharted and undiscovered ecosystems on the planet. Home to the majority of life on Earth, the ocean acts as its life support system, controlling everything from our weather and rainfall to the oxygen we breathe. Yet despite the ocean’s vital importance, the ocean is changing at a rapid rate due to climate change, pollution, and overfishing, making it one of the most serious environmental issues we face today.”
World Oceans Day is a U.N.-recognized international day of observance, wherein organizations dedicated to the protection of the oceans and the promotion of oceanic issues hold events and run campaigns. The aim is to increase awareness among the world’s citizens about the importance of our oceans, and of the current conditions and problems facing them.
Bringing some of the most fantastic views under the sea to everyone’s computer screen can be crucial in securing support for initiatives to protect the ocean. After all, as has been said many times, “you protect what you love,” and you cannot love what you do not know.