Google’s Street View is a remarkable piece of technology that has has significantly influenced how we locate points of interest - heck, it can even help fight parking tickets (trust me, this works). And while we’ve long known about the Street View cars (I’ve seen one in person) and Street View trikes, little has been talked about when it comes to mapping the ocean’s floor.
That’s right, Google, if you ain’t heard, has been mapping the Earth’s ocean’s for a few years now. Saying “oceans” is a bit of an overstatement, as there are currently only six locations for underwater viewing, which includes Oahu, Maui and locations around the Great Barrier Reef. This is because “indexing” underwater, or in this case oceans, isn’t as fastidious of a process as capturing city streets. Each Ocean Street View dive covers about 2km, lasts about an hour, and amasses 3,000-4,000 photos each – Google does up to three dives a day.
Pictured above (and below) is Google Underwater Street View camera. It has a three lens – one facing down and the others facing left and right – and captures a photo every 3 seconds. A tablet at the rear of the Seaview rig controls the cameras, while a propeller glides the diver along. Google is also experimenting with 3D cameras.
Google says they’re working towards developing an underwater Street View camera that can capture photos on its own, which should significantly increase the “index”. That said, Google expects to bring Underwater Street View to the world’s oceans over the next three years…select locations of course.