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Even the Great Barrier Reef Isn't Safe from Google Maps

Where: Australia
February 27, 2012 at 2:30 PM | by | ()

These "what will they think of next" posts about Google Maps are getting more and more frequent—and more and more easy. We did a quick roundup at the end of last year, in the context of Google's airport maps. Since then they've added a bunch of useful features—cataloged here—and they've even begun inserting timestamps to Street View images. Helpful!

But there's an entire other part of Google Maps and Google Earth, which is the part where the images are just neat. There's enough material out there for entire galleries of wholly unintentional beautiful, weird, and even elegant photos (at least unintentional from Google's point of view; some of them were staged; hilariously). Not content with leaving things to chance, though, Google engineers have stepped up and mapped one of the world's most gorgeous areas.

With the help of the University of Queensland Global Change Institute and the conservation group Underwater Earth, Google has added the Great Barrier Reef to both Google Earth and Google Maps. The ongoing project will end up "mapping" the reef as far down as 100 meters, adding up to some 50,000 panoramic images. Popular working title: "Google SeaView."

In the long-term it will be scientists who benefit most from the images. The photos provide a bunch of benchmarks that will help evaluate the effects of climate change and pollution. But in the meantime everyone will want to browse the new features, which you can do via this preview online (the full launch will come in September).

Money quote: "This project is very exciting." Yeah, it really kind of is.

[Photo: Catlin SeaView]

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