Reef View: Google Gives Us Stunning Underwater Shots of Great Coral Reefs

Most of us have looked up our own address­es using Google Street View. But have you ever wished you could vir­tu­al­ly dive right into the ocean, lake or riv­er near your home?

It may not be long until you can. Google has tak­en its Street View mod­el, com­plete with direc­tion­al arrows and swipe-con­trolled scal­ing, and plunged into the watery uni­verse.

In a col­lab­o­ra­tion with a major sci­en­tif­ic study of the ocean, Street View now includes panoram­ic views of six of the world’s liv­ing coral reefs. These images, shot using a spe­cial cam­era, allow us to zoom in and see schools of fish and sea tur­tles make their way over the sea floor off the coast of Australia’s Heron Island. Check out the shape and tex­ture of this ancient vol­canic rock near Apo Island in the Philip­pines.

Above the Moloki­ni Crater near Maui you might be sur­prised to stum­ble upon some oth­er snorklers.

Scoot­ing along is amaz­ing­ly fun and the pho­to­graph­ic clar­i­ty is incred­i­ble. Take a cool swim with a man­ta ray and an under­wa­ter pho­tog­ra­ph­er off the Great Bar­ri­er Reef. It real­ly does feel like you’re there—only you’re not (and the Google water­marks bring you back to real­i­ty ).

View Larg­er Map

Pho­tos come cour­tesy of the Catlin Seav­iew Sur­vey, an inter­na­tion­al study of the oceans. Researchers use a con­tin­u­al 360 degree panoram­ic cam­era to cap­ture under­wa­ter images. In deep­er trench­es, they send the cam­era down on robots.

Sci­en­tists with the study say that some 95 per­cent of the ocean still hasn’t been seen by the human eye. Short of trav­el­ing to all these spots our­selves, this may be our best chance to bring that num­ber down.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Per­pet­u­al Ocean: A Van Gogh-Like Visu­al­iza­tion of our Ocean Cur­rents

Google Street View Opens Up a Look at Shackleton’s Antarc­tic

Tour the Ama­zon with Google Street View; No Pass­port Need­ed

Google Art Project Expands, Bring­ing 30,000 Works of Art from 151 Muse­ums to the Web

Kate Rix is an Oak­land-based free­lance writer. See more of her work at .

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