Turtles have homes too, and Google wants to show us how they live: Google Ocean Program manager Jenifer Austin Foulkes and Unterwater Earth founder Richard Vevers gave a fascinating talk Thursday about the company’s Underwater Streetview project, showing how divers use special cameras and explaining why the project is so important.
Google launched Streetview for the world’s oceans in cooperation with Underwater Earth the at the end of last year, and has mapped a total of six sites so far, including the Great Barrier Reef in Australia as well as reefs in Hawaii and the Philippines. Vevers explained that his organization’s Catlin Seaview Survey has been using divers carrying custom-made cameras that shoot photos every three seconds, with divers being able to cover about two kilometers during every expedition.
That’s slow — maybe too slow. The world’s coral reefs are receding quickly, which has been one of the main motivations behind the project. “We set up our project to reveal the reefs of the world,” Vevers said, adding: “People don’t want to protect anything they can’t see.”
However, Verers said showing off the beauty of coral reefs to the world is only “half the story.” The project has also been working on image recognition technologies, with the goal of mapping species and giving scientists around the world access to new material to work with.
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