Google Maps Now Offer Underwater Views

October 24, 2012

Unlocking Word Meanings
Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

1, map (v.) [map] – to create a graph or drawing which shows physical features of an area or place
Example: The researchers will map a hiking route around the mountain.  

2. comprehensive (adj.) [kom-pri-hen-siv] – almost complete; including most of something
Example: The national library has a comprehensive selection of historical books.

3. 360-degree (adj.) [dih-gree] – coming from all possible sides, angles or points; coming from all around
Example: Many 360-degree photographs make viewers feel as if the objects in the pictures are really in front of them.

4. terrain (n.) [tuh-reyn] – the ground; type of land with specific characteristics
Example: The car could not easily pass through the rock-filled terrain.

5. reef (n.) [reef] – the place or structures where underwater animals live
Example: The Great Barrier Reef in Australia is the world’s largest coral reef system.

Read the text below.

Google has partnered with Catlin Seaview Survey, an ocean research group, for a new project that aims to map the world’s oceans and make Google Maps Street View as comprehensive as possible.

The new Google Oceans Program offers maps with 360-degree photographs taken underwater. With the feature, Google hopes to beat mapping technology by its competitors, such as the services used by Apple and Amazon.

Previously, Google’s maps showed actual 360-degree images of streets and land terrain, but only computer-generated images of underwater terrain. Google’s Oceans Program manager, Jenifer Foulkes says the addition of real underwater photographs now allows users to explore places where most people have never been to.

Richard Vevers, director of the project, says Google’s ocean maps will be useful for scientists who are studying the current condition of the world’s oceans and ocean life in relation to climate change, pollution, and harmful fishing practices.

Researchers from the University of Queensland’s Global Change Institute are already using the maps to identify the kind of sea creatures living in different reefs and to monitor changes in their environment.

Vevers explains that data on the reefs will help scientists identify which reefs are in the greatest need of protection. The data could be used to raise public awareness about the conditions of the earth’s oceans.

Locations currently available for viewing via Google’s ocean maps are: the Great Barrier Reef near Heron Island, Lady Eliot Island, and Wilson island in Australia; Hanauma Bay and Molokini Crater in Hawaii; and Apo Island in the Philippines.  Google will also be mapping Bermuda’s reefs next.

Viewpoint Discussion
Enjoy a discussion with your tutor. 

Discussion A

·         Would you be interested in looking at comprehensive maps and photographs of the earth’s oceans? Why or why not?
·         What places would you like Google maps to take pictures of? Why do you choose this place?

Discussion B

·         What are other useful benefits of digital / online mapping services?
·         What possible problems may people experience because of digital/online mapping services?


October 24, 2012