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Google Street View goes for a swim with new underwater maps

Luke Johnson

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Underwater Google Street View

Google is getting its feet wet, releasing a series of new underwater Street View maps.

Letting desk-dwellers and sofa-surfers discover the depths of 40 of the world’s most stunning underwater locations, the sub-surface Street View experiences have been produced to celebrate World Oceans Day.

Filled with everything from coral beds and whales to turtles and wrecks, the watery Street View experiences include locations such as the Gear Barrier Reef.

Footage has also been captured for digital exploration from the seas around American Samoa, Bali, the Bahamas and the Chagos Islands.

“Covering more than 70 percent of the Earth’s surface, the ocean remains one of the most uncharted and undiscovered ecosystems on the planet,” Jenifer Austin from the Google Ocean Program said in a blog post.

“Home to the majority of life on Earth, the ocean acts as its life support system, controlling everything from our weather and rainfall to the oxygen we breathe. Yet despite the ocean’s vital importance, the ocean is changing at a rapid rate due to climate change, pollution, and overfishing, making it one of the most serious environmental issues we face today.”

She added: “Mapping the ocean is key to preserving it. Each image in Google Maps is a GPS-located digital record of these underwater and coastal environments, which can be used as a baseline to monitor change over time.

“This comprehensive record of coral reefs showcases the beauty of these ecosystems and highlights the threats they face, such as the impact of increasing storms in the Great Barrier Reef and of rising water temperatures, factors causing the reefs to bleach white.

With just one click, you can swim underwater alongside some of the most wondrous and exotic creatures, including a sea turtle in the Solomon Islands, humpback whales in the Cook Islands, great white sharks in Australia, and the huge and mysterious sunfish (Mola mola) in Bali.”

Held on June 8, World Oceans Day looks to raise awareness of the dwindling state of our planet’s bodies of water and the life they support.

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This isn’t the first time Google’s Street View cameras have been for a dip. Earlier this year the search giant mapped out the depth of Loch Ness in hunt for the infamous water-dwelling monster, Nessie.

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