Google offers virtual dives in world's coral reefs
SAN FRANCISCO (AFP) - Google on Tuesday began letting users of its online mapping service take virtual scuba dives to explore precious living reefs being surveyed by scientists.
The first underwater panoramic images were added to Google Maps with the help of Catlin Seaview Survey scientific expedition, which hoped that the up-close view of underwater wonders would inspire people to protect them.
A small team of Catlin divers used a special camera to capture panoramic imagery woven together at Google Maps and in a special Street View online gallery to let people swim along without getting wet.
"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," said Google Maps and Earth vice president Brian McClendon. "Now, anyone can become the next virtual Jacques Cousteau and dive with sea turtles, fish and manta rays in Australia, the Philippines and Hawaii."