Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Google Earth 5 Beta Release

Google has just released version 5 of its sucessful Google Earth yesterday. New features include:
  • Historical imagery from around the globe
  • Ocean floor and surface data from marine experts
  • Simplified touring with audio and voice recording

Of course, Oceans are not new to Google Earth of course, it has always been a virtual replication of our own world . The old oceans were simply big blue expanses and a wee bit of low resolution shadings to make the suggestion of depth. Since yesterday, the new release has a much more detailed bathymetric map (which means ocean floor), which makes it possible for us to submerge and explore the deep blue seas.

While you're there you can explore thousands of data points including videos and images of ocean life, details on the best surf spots, logs of real ocean expeditions, and much more.

We were joined at the Academy by many of the dozens of ocean scientists and advocates who helped make this project a reality: friends from National Geographic, the Monterey Bay Aquarium, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association, the US Navy, Scripps Oceanography, and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, to name just a few. Above all, I would like to acknowledge the work of Dr. Sylvia Earle, who cornered me at a conference three years ago and told me that Google Earth was
great but that it wasn't finished (you can read more about that encounter on the Lat
Long blog
). As much as I hated to admit it, she was right. We on the Google Earth team had been working hard to build a rich 3D map of the world, but we had largely ignored the oceans — two thirds of the planet. Inspired by Sylvia, the team got to work. I hope you are as excited as I am to explore our new Ocean and all of the fascinating stories and images our partners have contributed.

A second interesting addition is Google Mars, which was created in cohoots with NASA. You can get to the 3D Map of the Red Planet by selecting "Mars" on the toolbar. It features high res imagery, 3D terrain, landing sites and more.

Read more on the official Google Blog.

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