Explore Great Barrier Reef on Google Street View [Gallery]

Panoramic images of several coral reefs have been added to Google’s Street View service in its maps, allowing users to navigate their way around the sites.

  • The shallow reef vessel. Picture: Catlin Seaview SurveyThe shallow reef vessel. Picture: Catlin Seaview Survey
  • Picture: Catlin Seaview SurveyPicture: Catlin Seaview Survey
  • Picture: Catlin Seaview SurveyPicture: Catlin Seaview Survey
  • Picture: Catlin Seaview SurveyPicture: Catlin Seaview Survey
  • Picture: Catlin Seaview SurveyPicture: Catlin Seaview Survey
  • Picture: Catlin Seaview SurveyPicture: Catlin Seaview Survey
  • Picture: Catlin Seaview SurveyPicture: Catlin Seaview Survey
  • Picture: Catlin Seaview SurveyPicture: Catlin Seaview Survey
  • Picture: Catlin Seaview SurveyPicture: Catlin Seaview Survey
  • Picture: Catlin Seaview SurveyPicture: Catlin Seaview Survey
  • Opal Reef Christmas tree worms. Picture: Catlin Seaview SurveyOpal Reef Christmas tree worms. Picture: Catlin Seaview Survey
  • The team will be surveying the Great Barrier Reef until the end of December. The total global survey is planned over three years and will encompass many other coral reefs around the world. The next survey is planned for the Philippines. Picture: Google / Catlin Seaview SurveyThe team will be surveying the Great Barrier Reef until the end of December. The total global survey is planned over three years and will encompass many other coral reefs around the world. The next survey is planned for the Philippines. Picture: Google / Catlin Seaview Survey
  • This unique and innovative experience gives viewers the chance to dive and see exactly what the scientists will see themselves. They can choose where to go and steer their way around the reef area they are looking at using their own keyboard or mouse. Picture: Google / Catlin Seaview SurveyThis unique and innovative experience gives viewers the chance to dive and see exactly what the scientists will see themselves. They can choose where to go and steer their way around the reef area they are looking at using their own keyboard or mouse. Picture: Google / Catlin Seaview Survey
  • The images to be used by scientists are also making it possible for anyone to see the wonders of the underwater world of the coral reef in a Virtual Dive. Picture: Catlin Seaview SurveyThe images to be used by scientists are also making it possible for anyone to see the wonders of the underwater world of the coral reef in a Virtual Dive. Picture: Catlin Seaview Survey
  • ...which can be steered from a boat on the surface of the ocean above. Picture: Catlin Seaview Survey...which can be steered from a boat on the surface of the ocean above. Picture: Catlin Seaview Survey
  • For the deep reef, an area virtually unknown to scientists, the Catlin Seaview Survey will be using robot vehicles... Picture: Catlin Seaview SurveyFor the deep reef, an area virtually unknown to scientists, the Catlin Seaview Survey will be using robot vehicles... Picture: Catlin Seaview Survey
  • On the shallow reef the camera is steered by scuba divers. Picture: Catlin Seaview SurveyOn the shallow reef the camera is steered by scuba divers. Picture: Catlin Seaview Survey
  • Using a specially developed 360 degree camera, teams of divers from the Catlin Seaview Survey will capture visual data that scientists will use to create a comprehensive map of the health of the reef, cataloguing its species and habitats. Picture: Catlin Seaview SurveyUsing a specially developed 360 degree camera, teams of divers from the Catlin Seaview Survey will capture visual data that scientists will use to create a comprehensive map of the health of the reef, cataloguing its species and habitats. Picture: Catlin Seaview Survey
  • The Catlin Seaview Survey is creating a record of the Earth’s coral reefs. They are home to 25% of ocean species, but are endangered by changes to the oceans. Warmer waters, increasing acidification of our seas and increased intensity of storms are all endangering their future health. Picture: Catlin Seaview SurveyThe Catlin Seaview Survey is creating a record of the Earth’s coral reefs. They are home to 25% of ocean species, but are endangered by changes to the oceans. Warmer waters, increasing acidification of our seas and increased intensity of storms are all endangering their future health. Picture: Catlin Seaview Survey
  • You can now explore coral reefs on Google Street View. Panoramic images of reefs were gathered by the Catlin Seaview Survey - a project which studies the health of coral reefs, and the impact of global warming. Picture: Catlin Seaview SurveyYou can now explore coral reefs on Google Street View. Panoramic images of reefs were gathered by the Catlin Seaview Survey - a project which studies the health of coral reefs, and the impact of global warming. Picture: Catlin Seaview Survey

Users can take a virtual underwater tour of the Great Barrier Reef, the Apo Island marine reserve and Molokini Crater by clicking on the online mapping service.

‘We’ve published images in seven continents, down the Amazon and in the Arctic,’ said Google Oceans Program manager Jenifer Austin Foulkes.

Google combined forces with the Catlin Seaview Survey scientific expedition in order to bring the images to users and the expedition organisers hope the pictures will convince more people to help protect the coral reef.

This is a critical decade for coral reefs,’ said Catlin project director Richard Vevers.

‘We need to be recording them as fast as we can and involving people to halt the decline, which is alarming at the moment.’

The expedition divers used a unique camera to shoot the panamoric photos that were then put together by Google and can now be viewed in a Street View online gallery.

‘With these vibrant and stunning photos you don’t have to be a scuba diver or even know how to swim to explore and experience six of the ocean’s most incredible living coral reefs,’ added Google Maps and Earth vice president Brian McClendon.

The special coral reef gallery can be viewed online at maps.google.com/ocean.

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