Google Ocean comes to the Great Lakes

great-lakesI was wondering if Google would be adding their “ocean” features to other bodies of water, and it turns out they are!  You can now dive into the five Great Lakes just as you can with the oceans.

From the LatLong Blog:

Users will be able to explore features such as the canyons and shoals in eastern Lake Superior, the Lake Michigan mid-lake reef complex, and the old river channel, now underwater, that once connected Lakes Michigan and Huron at the Straits of Mackinac.

In addition, the NOAA Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory has created a narrated Google Earth tour which you can download here (KML) or view directly in your browser.

Google Earth 5.0 is released — WOW

Google Earth 5.0This is simply one of the biggest releases ever for Google Earth.  Some of the goodies:

  • Historical Imagery: You can now activate a slider.  I’ve seen a lot of imagery from the early 90’s, and there’s plenty from even before then.  I’ve been very impressed with the quality of the older imagery.  It’s mostly black and white, but surprisingly sharp. More: GEB | LatLong
  • Mars: Mars is now a fully rendered, 3D planet!  They use remarkably good imagery for much of it, and it even incorporates 3D terrain. More: GEB
  • 3D Ocean: This was the big selling point of 5.0 — a fully 3D ocean!  This one you just have to see to believe. More: GEB | LatLong | Google
  • Record Tour Mode: Not normal videos, but narrated walk-throughs in Google Earth.  It’s very creative and works amazingly well.  More: GEB

Enough talk.  If you haven’t seen GE 5.0 yet, then you just need to go get it and play!

Big update to Google Earth coming in 8 days?

According to a few sources, Google is releasing a new version of Google Earth at the California Academy of Sciences on February 2nd.  Because the location of the event happens to be an aquarium, planetarium and natural history museum, that’s leading many to think that we may finally see the long-rumored “Google Ocean”.

It would be somewhat odd timing for that, since they just released the new ocean imagery a week ago, but it sure makes sense.  However, it also leads to another question — what other new features might we see?  New imagery?  More 3D buildings?  Other features?

We’ll find out soon!

New Ocean Imagery in Google Earth

Google Earth - New Ocean FloorGoogle has just pushed some new imagery to Google Earth that shows much higher quality data for all of the oceans of the world.  The data sadly isn’t 3D yet, but it’s certainly much better.  It makes viewing the globe from high altitudes look much better.  It’s not as in-depth as the rumored “Google Ocean” product, but it’s a step in that direction.

They’ve also done a bit of work on some inland bodies of water.  For example, the Great Lakes are now a very interesting shade of pale blue.  I assume that’s to help show their relative depth.

To see the new ocean imagery, just fire up Google Earth and there it is!  Nothing new to load.

Google Earth Blog has more info and a nice before/after photo.

Google Ocean coming soon?

According to an article on CNET News, Google is in the process of building a tool known as “Google Ocean” to map the terrain of the ocean floors. Similar to Google Earth and Maps, Ocean will provide the base data (depth mesh and some imagery), and allow users to populate it with data for things like current, shipwrecks, coral reefs, etc.

Capturing the entire ocean in high res would take approximately 100 ship years, so it is assumed that Google will start by using something like the Predicted Depth Map from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, then fill it in with a patchwork of higher resolution data from a variety of sources.

There is no timetable for when Google Ocean might be released. Last December, Google met with various oceanography experts to discuss the project, so at this point it should be well underway. If we hear any more news about a pending release, we’ll let you know.