You’re probably already familiar with the neat application, Google Earth that allows you to view satellite imagery of any place in the world. But now, Google’s going beyond land, and diving into the oceans with ambitious plans to create a three dimensional map of the world’s oceans, according to this CNET story. From the article:
The company has assembled an advisory group of oceanography experts, and in December invited researchers from institutions around the world to the Mountain View, Calif., Googleplex. There, they discussed plans for creating a 3D oceanographic map, according to sources familiar with the matter.
The tool–for now called Google Ocean, the sources say, though that name could change–is expected to be similar to other 3D online mapping applications. People will be able to see the underwater topography, called bathymetry; search for particular spots or attractions; and navigate through the digital environment by zooming and panning….
Oceanography researchers, however, say such a tool would be incredibly useful. “There is no real terrain or depth model for the ocean in Google Earth,” said Tim Haverland, a geospatial application developer at the Fisheries Service of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). “You can’t get in a submarine and in essence fly through the water and explore ocean canyons yet.”
Google Ocean will feature a basic layer that shows the depth of the sea floor and will serve as a spatial framework for additional data, sources said, adding that Google plans to try to fill in some areas of the map with high-resolution images for more detail.
I would guess that this type of information could prove extremely valuable for marine energy developers by providing data about potential sites. (full disclosure – my spouse is employed with Google, on a different project).