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Google Sets Sights On 3D Map of the Oceans 83

Several readers wrote to tell us about one of the next major projects to enter the Google-verse. We already have pretty views of the Earth and the Sky, the next target is apparently a 3D map of the oceans. "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. (The tool, however, is not to be confused with the 'Google Ocean' project by France-based Magic Instinct Software that uses Google Earth as a visualization tool for marine data.)"
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Google Sets Sights On 3D Map of the Oceans

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  • Why? (Score:3, Funny)

    by Trent Hawkins ( 1093109 ) on Wednesday April 30, 2008 @05:04PM (#23256286)
    Does this have anything to do with their under water fortress of doom?
    • by EmbeddedJanitor ( 597831 ) on Wednesday April 30, 2008 @05:10PM (#23256386)
      We have better understanding of far away stars etc than we do of our own oceans, yet the oceans are far more important to our existence. Hat's off to Google!
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        Hat's off to Google!

        <grammar nazi>Who is Hat and why is he going to Google?</grammar nazi>
        • Hat's off to Google == Hat is off to Google == [My] hat is off to Google.
          • Oh, alright, if you say so. Don't skip the pronoun next time, you lazy bastard!
          • <super nazi>Actually...hats off is typically intoned as a command, as in, [Take your] hats off to Bob for his wonderful accomplishment!</super nazi>

            This expression isn't intended to passively describe a situation, it's intended to encourage action...specifically, figurative recognition, and that makes the use of the possessive apostrophe incorrect. Not that I much care, it's just you guys were talking about it and I couldn't bear to sit by and see misinformation abound.

        • Hat's off to Google!

          <grammar nazi>Who is Hat and why is he going to Google?</grammar nazi>

          You don't end being a Grammar Nazi ("</grammar nazi>"), you just learn to bite your tongue.

          Or possibly you change your politics, or stop eating the gram flour [].

          Or you move out of Denmark [].

      • by Ihmhi ( 1206036 )

        I don't know, I don't think an asteroid can rise up from the ocean and slam into the Earth again.

      • Even when it comes to mapping, we have more complete coverage, and better resolution, of the global topography of Mars (thanks to the Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter) than of Earth.
      • by Snaller ( 147050 )
        Its also completely boring to most people. Dirty water! Enough already.
      • Citation please. Or in lieu please post some links to your work.
    • But I am more concerned about them pulling into my underwater driveway and photographing my underwater house.

      Or...2010, breaking news: Google periscope spotted in homeowner's toilet taking pictures of "uncharted territory."
    • by genner ( 694963 )
      It's called the happy dome. Everyone knows Google isn't evil.
  • Google needs to work getting images and map data up to date in Earth / maps right now.
    • Quantity, not quality
    • Tell me about it [].

      I bet one or two photos would update the whole town, too.
  • by StefanJ ( 88986 ) on Wednesday April 30, 2008 @05:10PM (#23256384) Homepage Journal
    Cthulhu's watery resting place.

    Hmmmm, just think: With Greenland and Antarctica melting, Google Ocean will eventually get bigger as Google Earth shrinks a bit around the edges.
  • by webword ( 82711 ) on Wednesday April 30, 2008 @05:17PM (#23256492) Homepage
    Google continues to crank out new services, products, APIs, tools, and more. It's really quite staggering, but they do have the cash and brains to do it. But the investments they make are huge. I'm talking about money, time and brainpower.

    Is latest action to make the entire world's information accessible for cash in some way? Is it some sort of philanthropy? You know, another gift to the world? Or, is there some other plan for world domination?

    Speaking of world domination...

    Who will be the most angry about all of this?

    * Aquaman
    * Poseidon
    * Neptune
    * Little Mermaid
    * The Mariner (Kevin Costner, Waterworld)
    • * Poseidon
      * Neptune
      Definitely neither of them, they're still too busy bitching over who had the best god of the sea implementation.
    • Google continues to crank out new services, products, APIs, tools, and more. It's really quite staggering, but they do have the cash and brains to do it. But the investments they make are huge. I'm talking about money, time and brainpower.

      Working within the geospatial domain (a blend of GIS, remote sensing, GPS, virtual globes, webmapping and much more) and running a website about it, clearly the "newcomers" (mainly Google, Microsoft and Yahoo) with what has been often called neogeography [] are making serious inroads in traditional GIS software providers such as ESRI []. (rejoice /. users, open source [] is also making serious inroads there too)

      The thing is, neogeography *is* useful and efficient for many tasks. Not everybody needs "a real" powerfu

    • Well, in The Hunt for Red October [] the Soviet Union had accurate charts and the US Navy didn't. I'd imagine the Soviet Navy might be upset that all the US has to do now is google Red Route One.
      • Satellite imaging has grown up considerably since then. Also, that was a book. And then a movie. And none of it ever happened.
        • Or the government's said it never happened.

          This is slashdot, not enough paranoia and you get kicked out!
          • Or the government's said it never happened.

            If you had seen the movie that we're lampooning, you would know that the last two lines of the introductory text are ever happened.

    • by VJ42 ( 860241 ) *

      Who will be the most angry about all of this? * Aquaman * Poseidon * Neptune * Little Mermaid * The Mariner (Kevin Costner, Waterworld)
    • but of course, Dirk Pitt, and Admiral Sandecker will be the most upset. Poor Hiram Yaeger will commit suicide...
      • Good old Clive will turn up half way through the domination to sort out the plot with some unfeasibly useful technology. Bit like google sea really or is it - nooo I have lost my mind.
  • by erroneus ( 253617 ) on Wednesday April 30, 2008 @05:19PM (#23256526) Homepage
    Davy Jones, the ambassador for marine life, is citing privacy concerns and plans to protest this activity.

    I say, if they don't have anything to hide, they have nothing to be afraid of.
  • by RealErmine ( 621439 ) <commerce@wor[ ] ['dho' in gap]> on Wednesday April 30, 2008 @05:23PM (#23256558)

    Survey Point 1, Sea Level ..... 0 Meters

    Survey Point 2, Sea Level ..... 0 Meters

    Survey Point 3, Sea Level ..... 0 Meters

    Survey Point 4, Sea Level ..... 0 Meters

    Survey Point 5, Sea level ..... 0.2 Meters (note: shark)

  • Aside for fun and searching the Titanic and the Atlantis, what's the use of it? I mean, it's not that we will able to find the nearest Starbucks or get directions underwater. Why not use that cash to improve the streets and imagery on the earth part?
    • by njcoder ( 657816 )

      Why not use that cash to improve the streets and imagery on the earth part?
      Because fish and giant squid can't sue you over privacy concerns.
  • by Jherek Carnelian ( 831679 ) on Wednesday April 30, 2008 @05:32PM (#23256670)

    We all live in a google submarine
    google submarine, google submarine
    We all live in a google subarmine
    google submarine, google submarine

    As we live a life of ease (A life of ease)
    Everyone of us (Everyone of us) has all we need (Has all we need)
    Sky of blue (Sky of blue) and sea of green (Sea of green)
    In our google (In our google) submarine (Submarine, ha, ha)
  • We'll find Davey Jones' Locker yet with this and all be rich! RICH I say!

    Or, failing that, we can search for submarines lurking under the waves.
  • ...otherwise compared to keeping up with the RT 3d ocean surface, slashdotting a data server would be a drop in the ocean. literally.
  • Instead of the Google Truck, there'd be a Google submarine taking pictures and some sort of slimy fish would probably sue them for taking pictures of it's backreef.

    I'm looking forward to Google Oceans. Sounds interesting.

  • by MROD ( 101561 ) on Wednesday April 30, 2008 @05:44PM (#23256812) Homepage
    Hmm.. I wonder if they'll be using the Smith & Sandwell satellite derived bathymetry or ship-track data....

    Anything better than 5 degree per pixel would be scientifically useful.. but I doubt that they'll have very high definition coverage... and I also doubt they'll be filling in the huge holes in the ship-track coverage.

    The surface of Mars has been mapped in higher detail than the depths of the ocean and we are still guessing at the numbers of sea-mounts in the Pacific.
    • by MROD ( 101561 )
      Oops! The referred article made most of my points. Oh well. At least the reporter talked to the two main researchers who have generated the best synthesis of data so far.
  • I hope that they will be able to offer satellite and 3D imagery of the gigantic plastic-trash gyre north of Hawaii. And anyway, aren't there other trash gyres in the oceans? Will they be able to provide real-time ocean vehicle tracking? Science buoys? Locations of marine accidents? The nearest pizza delivery to your port-of-call? Hurricane tracking? Atlantis? . Klek -- .Sig, munde, froid.
  • There are many uses for such a service. Here's just a few off the top of my head:

    -Under-water cable management

    -Shipwreck locator

    -Points of interest for study (black smokers, volcanoes, rifts)

    -Biologic tracking data (in 3D)

    -Current tracking data (in 3D)

    -The aforementioned oil industry uses

    I'm guessing Google would release a lo-rez free version to the general public and then license a high-rez version to corporations (and government) like it does with Google Earth. I didn't really RTFA--you don't really have
    • I can already count the rooftiles on my house using Google Earth. Are you telling me there is a version that is even more high-res?

      And you are forgetting one important use: it is *FUN* to look around the worlds' oceans!
  • I don't think it's a waste of money at all- I think it's a great idea. It just doesn't have as much immediate use to the average internet user.

    I mean, maybe we can't use this map to get driving directions or whatever, but what if marine biologists create mash-ups that show migration patterns for marine life or something? That would be worthwhile.

  • Will they be adding a submarine simulator?
  • in just 5 or so years google will start mapping our butts.
    • in just 5 or so years google will start mapping our butts.

      If they start driving a photo truck over mine I will sue them. Either that or build a toll booth. Whatever seems more profitable.

    • And then five years after that they'll finally take gmail out of beta. Four years and counting...
  • Hmm... well while that is interesting (or not) for the masses, I am very excited about that.
    As a diver (recreational) I am really curious if this will cover only deep oceans or maybe even close to shore locations. While there are enough dive places in Costa Rica (where I live) to dive every weekend on a different place, you quickly realize that a certain dive shop is usually limited to 10-12 sites tops. That makes you think of hiring the fisherman, getting on the friend's boat with a GPS and starting to d
    • +1, although I'm a sport fisherwoman with a sometime interest in diving. I'd LOVE to have an accurate, easily accessible map of reefs, shoals, deep holes and other near-shore features, particularly for fishing travel. Most of the same places that interest divers also interest fisherpeople, for a lot of the same reasons - they have easily accessible, unique bottom structure that attracts interesting fish.

      Bring on the Google Oceans maps!

    • In the US, NOAA has had fairly good resolution data available for most of the coastline. Unfortunately, it is not in the most "user friendly" format. To say that a different way, I was looking for some possible diving spots* and spent an hour trying to make heads or tails of the search data.

      Searchability is Google's strong point, so I expect this will be a vast improvement. Some inland data would be nice, but I can't imaging the two man-made lakes near my house would be indexed any time this century.

  • I'm still amazed sometimes how the google guys map the surface of a more or less flat thing like our world onto a ball. It confused me at first, but then I realized how smart that was. Instead of scrolling from east to west and the whole way back I can just turn the ball across the western border and be instantly there. I have been told that also most pilots also assume our world to be a ball when doing navigation as it supposed to make math easier.
  • AFAIK, high-resolution bathymetry is considered some of the most highly classified data the US Navy has. Many people and organizations over the years have tried to access that data and been told that it is protected due to unspecified national security concerns.

    OTOH, the kind of data that is easily available with Google Earth was once the exclusive domain of agencies such as NRO...
    • Well the UK Military is less protective over the information its bathymetry generates. The UK government organisation that does sea mapping is a trading fund of the Ministry of Defence and if you want a submarine map, buy one from them - []

Logic is a pretty flower that smells bad.