Yesterday saw the launch of underwater Street View for Google Maps, which allows people to take a virtual dive around selected sites on the Great Barrier Reef.
The Underwater Earth project uses data and imagery from the ground-breaking Catlin Seaview Survey project – a series of expeditions aiming to explore and survey the health of coral reefs worldwide.
Armed with cutting-edge cameras and underwater robots controlled by specially designed Samsung Galaxy tablets, the team were able to capture up to 50,000 panoramic underwater images and stitch them together into a navigable “reef view” panorama of the underwater environments around Heron and Lady Elliot Island.
The data will also contribute to the Global Reef Record public database, which will enable scientists worldwide to monitor the health of coral reef systems worldwide and their response to climate change.
The first Catlin Seaview expedition launched on 16 September 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.
To take an underwater tour, go to:
• Heron Island, Great Barrier Reef – http://goo.gl/maps/3mPy0
• Lady Elliot Island, GBR: Dive in – http://goo.gl/kDcLN
• Wilson Island, Great Barrier Reef: Dive in – http://goo.gl/maps/sluiY