Panorama views of the sea floor FTW!
This, believe it or not, is an image from Google Street View.
What happened here? Appallingly bad driving? In fact it’s the result of a partnership between Street View and the Catlin Seaview Survey – you can see the current collection here.
What’s the point of this? It’s designed to do two things – promote Google Maps, which is under pressure from its rivals (although not the beleaguered Apple Maps on iOS 6), and to promote the health of 71% of our planet. This month the Catlin Seaview Survey kicked off with two expeditions to sites along the 2,300km-long Great Barrier Reef & Coral Sea, taking images with specially designed 360-degree-view cameras to be stitched together into gorgeous Street View panoramas.
But there’s a serious side to the fun. These images are also designed to act as a snapshot record of the state of these reefs, so scientists can track changes in reef health. Those changes shouldn’t be long in coming, if studies from Brazil and the Caribbean are any indicators. Last chance to see? We sincerely hope not.