Google Maps Go Underwater To Offer Spectacular Views

Google Maps is now underwater, taking users far beyond the normal street views to show a breathtaking oceanic scene.

The mapping service has been extended to a number of vibrant underwater locations, including Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, Hawaii’s Hanauma Bay, and Apo Islands in the Philippines, Mashable reported. Google Maps underwater includes six panoramic views of the oceans coral reefs in all.

On its official blog, Google talked about sending its maps underwater.

“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,” Google announced Tuesday. “Now, anyone can become the next virtual Jacques Cousteau and dive with sea turtles, fish and manta rays.”

To create Google Maps underwater, the tech giant worked with The Catlin Seaview Survey, which conducts major scientific study of the world’s coral reefs.

“The Global Reef Record is a game-changing scientific tool that scientists around the world will have at their fingertips,” said Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, a lead scientist at The Catlin Seaview Survey. “They will be able to monitor change in marine environments now and in the future. Marine scientists researching any aspect of the reef will be able to study these environments from any of the surveys we conduct–Shallow Reef or Deep Reef.”

The Google Maps underwater images were captured using the SVII, a specially made underwater camera. This camera takes 360-degree panoramic images, snapping pictures every three seconds, PCMag notes.

Users have already spotted some amazing sights on Google Maps underwater. There is a sea turtle swimming near a school of fish at Heron Island in the Great Barrier Reef, and at Oahu’s Hanuama Bay viewers can see another diver exploring a school of fish.

Google Maps Go Underwater To Offer Spectacular Views

Google also hopes to promote learning about the Great Barrier Reef though its underwater project. In its blog post Google links to its World Wonders Project, which gives information, videos, and photos of natural and man-made landmarks like Pompeii and the Hiroshima Peace Memorial.