Google Maps seems to be building on the iOS 6 maps debacle by adding new features to the existing contours of its maps. Google Earth Maps added panoramic images of several coral reefs to Google’s Street View service in its maps. The data was collected by the Catlin Seaview Survey, a project studying the health of the reefs and the impact of global warming.
Google Maps added Australia’s Great Barrier Reef near Heron Island, Lady Elliot Island and Wilson Island, Hawaii’s Hanauma Bay, Molokini Crater and the Philippines Apo Island in the list of the coral reefs in its service. Google had previously offered computer-generated views of the sea life, but this is the first time it has included underwater images into its mapping features.
Google’s Ocean Programme manager, Jenifer Foulkes said, “We want to be a comprehensive source for imagery that lets anyone explore anywhere. This is just the next step to take users underwater and give them the experience of an area that most people have been to.” The photographs and the compilation of images have been provided by scientists funded by the Catlin Group, a Bermuda based insurance firm, while Google provides technical support.
The scientists developed a submersible installed with three wide angle lenses to take high resolution images in dim light conditions. The equipment took 24 megapixel photographs from each lens once every four seconds to provide 360-degree views. Richard Vevers, the project’s director said, “The main reason is to record reef environments on an unprecedented scale and reveal them to the world. Scientists from around the world will now be able to study reefs remotely and very clearly see how they are changing.”
Google seems to be benefiting from the failure of Apple iOS 6 maps as the announcement of the inclusion of coral reefs comes after Eric Schmidt’s criticism of Apple maps application.
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