Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Google Earth: Dive! Dive!

Google Earth is finally paying attention to parts of the planet below sea level. According to a story in the New York Times Science Times this week, starting Monday (Feb. 9), Google Earth will enable users to cruise beneath the waves, add pictures and video to locales, or "... you can create narrated, illustrated tours, on land or above and below the sea surface, describing and showing things like a hike or scuba excursion, or even a research cruise on a deep-diving submarine." Sometimes when I can't get to sleep, I imagine myself as Sylvia Earle, piloting Alvin through the abyssal depths, so this will seem like a waking dream to me. (Sometimes I try to picture cruising beneath the Cretaceous seas, but that's for another post.) I'm excited about possibilities for teaching and learning using this technology.
Besides oceanography and marine ecology, another feature, Historical Imagery, compiles archives of satellite images to allow you to watch ways the land surface changes. (I don't know if there will be historical subsurface data.)
The new features require downloading the new version, free at earth.google.com.