Google Earth Goes Aquatic!

Google Earth is one of those fascinating tools that can literally suck you in for hours at a time as you freeflow across the landscape on a virtual tour. If nothing else it has drastically improved my understanding of geography which in turn improved my ability to understand and relate to conservation issues from around the world. I’ve always been curious to see if the Google titans would merge their Earth concept into a framework that supported the same sort of exploration in the oceans and this week they launched precisely that in Google Earth 5.0!

It certainly doesn’t hurt that one of my favorite ocean scientists – Dr Sylvia Earle – consulted on the project. I’m sure we can at least partially credit her with the incredible transformation of plain bathymetry data into a beautiful 3D underwater landscape. The release also has “layers” with wildlife and expedition tracking and includes other “environmental issues” as Google puts it. Its a good thing I have the day off today; I’m curious to see how environmental educators might use this new tool in their lesson plans and I’m dying to know if the so-called “trash islands” in the Pacific gyres received any attention in this latest release.

I’m not the only ocean blogger to have taken notice of this exciting release. Emily Fisher, along with the good folks at Oceana, blogged a bit about it yesterday and announced their own contribution to ocean mapping: an awesome interactive pinned area with notes on Oceana’s efforts and interesting ocean features. Psst: Oceana now also has its own tv channel online!


One Comment to “Google Earth Goes Aquatic!”

  1. Nothing on the trash in the North Pacific gyre yet – but watch that space for future developments from SIO.