Heron Island, Great Barrier Reef

Google is providing us with our weekly window into the future today with their updated version of Google maps which will allow “street view”  access to 6 of the worlds most beautiful underwater locations.  So rather than just using the street mode to showcase your house or to check out a possible residence for the upcoming school year, you can also take a virtual swim around the Great Barrier Reef, Hawaii’s Molokini Crater, Hanauma Bay, and Apo Islands in the Philippines.

The 50,000 stitched-together images come from a special underwater camera, the SVII, that divers bring eight meters below the water’s surface on what is essentially an underwater scooter.  This scooter allows divers to travel at three kilometers an hour. They take shots every four seconds, which can then be fed into Street View where the user can engage in that familiar click-forward-through-space experience we all know from Google’s land maps.

“The main aim is to produce a permanent record of these environments that allows everyone to monitor their change over time,” says Richard Vevers of the Catlin Seaview Survey who joined forces with Google to make this project happen.

Will this help record changes in the underwater environment over time? What other locations do you think Google will try to run projects like this? What part of the world would you like to see in “Street” view?