September 25th, 2012 | Published in Google Earth
Today we’re adding the very first underwater panoramic images to Google Maps, the next step in our quest to provide people with the most comprehensive, accurate and usable map of the world. 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.
Get up close and personal with sea turtles at Heron Island, Great Barrier Reef (View Larger Map)Starting today, you can use Google Maps to find a sea turtle swimming among a school of fish, follow a manta ray and experience the reef at sunset—just as I did on my first dive in the Great Barrier Reef last year. You can also find out much more about this reef via the World Wonders Project, a website that brings modern and ancient world heritage sites online. At Apo Island, a volcanic island and marine reserve in the Philippines, you can see an ancient boulder coral, which may be several hundred years old. And in the middle of the Pacific, in Hawaii, you can join snorkelers in Oahu’s Hanauma Bay and drift over the vast coral reef at Maui's Molokini crater.
We’re partnering with The Catlin Seaview Survey, a major scientific study of the world’s reefs, to make these amazing images available to millions of people through the Street View feature of Google Maps. The Catlin Seaview Survey used a specially designed underwater camera, the SVII, to capture these photos.
The Catlin Seaview Survey team on location on the Great Barrier Reef, encountering a manta ray (View Larger Map)
Whether you’re a marine biologist, an avid scuba diver or a landlocked landlubber, we encourage you to dive in and explore the ocean with Google Maps. Check out our complete underwater collection, featuring a Google+ underwater Hangout from the Great Barrier Reef. And you can always explore more imagery from around the world by visiting maps.google.com/streetview.
Explore more underwater imagesPosted by Brian McClendon, VP of Google Maps and Earth (and snorkeling enthusiast)