Friday, June 6, 2014 at 8:00 AMIn celebration of World Oceans Day this Sunday, June 8, today we’re inviting you to explore some of the world’s most beautiful and endangered waters in Google Maps, in partnership with The Catlin Seaview Survey. All you need is an Internet connection to dive into two new UNESCO Marine World Heritage Sites in Belize and the Philippines.
On UNESCO’s Danger List of World Heritage Sites, the Belize Barrier Reef is the largest in the northern hemisphere. With Street View, you can discover what’s left of this habitat for threatened species, including many species of coral—everything from brain corals to large gorgonian sea fans.
Immerse yourself in the waters of Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park, which lies in the middle of the Sulu Sea and is one of the Philippines’ oldest ecosystems. The region contains excellent examples of pristine reef with an incredibly high diversity of marine life. The area supports 374 species of coral (that's almost 90 percent of all coral species in the Philippines!) and numerous sharks, whales and fish.
The Catlin Seaview Survey team has documented many underwater locales around the world using their 360-degree panoramic SVII cameras, including a growing number of UNESCO Marine World Heritage Sites. We’ll continue to add this imagery to Street View in Google Maps as it’s collected. In the spirit of World Oceans Day, the goal of this project is to expose the world to the beauty of these marine habitats, and to create a scientific baseline record so that their changing health can be monitored over time.
So whether you’re an avid swimmer, a marine biologist or just a curious observer, we encourage you to dive in and explore the ocean with Google Maps—all while staying dry! And you can always see more imagery from around the world by visiting our complete underwater collection.