The camera is able to travel at 2.5mph while snapping 4-6 pictures of its surroundings a second

Coral Reefs to be a New Addition to Google StreetView

by Erin Hester

If this up-close view of the ocean doesn’t inspire a little environmentalism, I don’t know what will!

A recent project sposored by Catlin, a global insurance underwriting firm, will attempt to open the worlds eye’s to the life that lives far and away from most of us on the worlds’ coral reefs.  The project named the Catlin SeaView Survey will give people around the world first-hand access to our oceans’ coral reefs throughout the depths the 100m photic zone.  Think Google Street View underwater.

For a quick peek underwater, view the demo here.

In a study set to begin in September, 2012, The Catlin Seaview Survey, will head to Australia’s Great Barrier Reef and begin documenting every inch of the reef at depths ranging from zero to 100 meters.  All information collected will be made available on Google, at no cost to scientists or the general public.

How Does The Catlin Seaview Camera Work?

Specially designed cameras will capture these images.  The SVII camera is the latest prototype and will take a 360-degree, geo-located panoramic image every 4-6 seconds while traveling at a speed of 2.5 mph.  The first 300 ft of ocean of ocean contains over 90% of the marine organisms that live there so the results of this expedition should create some unique images.  Perhaps we will see the SeaView II capture some animals off guard or  doing unique things like we have seen the Google Street View vehicles do.
Catlin is mapping the worlds' reefs with google streetview like images

Why Do We Need To See The Worlds’ Reefs Online?

There are three main goals of the survey, all of which aim to help scientists study the effects of oceanic warming on wildlife.
1. To create a broad range of information and automatically analysed images for scientists around the world to study.
2. To understand better our deep-water reefs, one of the least understood ecosystems on earth, and their susceptibility to climate change.
3.  To conduct a mega-fauna survey.  Cinematographer and researcher Richard Fitzpatrick will lead a team in tagging and tracking manta rays, turtles and tiger sharks and study their changing distribution in response to rapidly warming seas.
You can keep up with the progress on this project on their blog here.
What reefs would you like to see the SeaView explore next?
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