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Google Earth gets Wet

Mar 04, 2009

Google Earth snap
ODP 889 node site, as seen in Google Earth 5.0. (Click to view movie.)

With its recent 5.0 release, Google Earth is now "Google Oceans" for many of us. Working with an impressive list of partners such as the Cousteau Society, FishBase, IUCN, Monterey Bay Aquarium, National Geographic , Rutgers University Scripps Institute, the Smithsonian, UC Santa Barbara, Stanford University, University of Washington, and Woods Hole, Google has expanded their Earth browser to include the 70% of our planet covered by oceans.

Google Oceans layers
New ocean-related information layers offered in Google Earth 5.0.

A slate of new information layers (illustrated at right) let you explore the oceans in exciting new ways. You can visit shipwrecks, learn about endangered species like the bluntnose six-gill shark or visit Endeavour Ridge, a unique marine ecosystem and NEPTUNE Canada study area, to view photos and videos provided by VENUS director Verena Tunnicliffe and NEPTUNE Canada scientist Kim Juniper. (A screen shot of the Endeavour Hydrothermal Vents Marine Protected Area in Google Earth is shown in the illustration below.)

Many of the partner organizations involved are developing and providing data for people to download and open in their own desktop version of Google Earth. For example, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution is providing cruise tracklines and imagery from their habcam and the Scripps Institution of Oceanography is now offering high-resolution multibeam bathymetry data.

NEPTUNE Canada Involvement

NEPTUNE Canada is also experimenting with Google Earth. We've recently used it to visualize Barkley Canyon, linking seafloor locations with ROPOS video gathered during an installation planning survey in 2007. We've also used it to create a quick air and underwater tour of our facilities and nodes. The kml data files for both of these visualizations are available for you to download and explore:

In the future, NEPTUNE Canada hopes to offer more data and imagery for desktop deep-sea exploration via Google Oceans.

Google Earth snap
IUCN/WCPA marker on the Endeavour Hydrothermal Vents Marine Protected Area, as seen in Google Earth 5.0. (Click to enlarge.)

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