Google has given travellers goggles, as the street view goes off road and underwater mapping parts of the Great Barrier Reef off Lady Elliot Island.
Lady Elliot Island, a coral cay located at the southern tip of the World Heritage Listed Great Barrier Reef, is situated within a highly protected ’Green Zone’.
The island is a sanctuary for over 1,200 species of marine life and is known for its abundance of manta rays, turtles, amazing array of spectacular marine life and unspoilt coral reef.
You can dive parts of this World Heritage-listed marine park from your desk at work thanks to a team of scientists who have created a specially designed underwater camera capable of capturing 360-degree images of the reef.
The project to map the reef is part of the Catlin Seaview Survey, launched at Monterey, California, and scientists will spend the next three years compiling a visual record of the worlds reefs that will be explorable by everyone via Google Maps.
With 99.95 percent of people unable to scuba dive, it allows so many people to access the oceans for the very first time. Project founder and director Richard Vevers said the images would open up the reef to the world.
Lady Elliot Island is just one of three sections around the Great Barrier Reef, including Heron and Wilson Islands, that have been mapped so far, but by the end of December scientists will have completed surveys on 20 sections of the 2300km long reef.
“It’s very much a critical time for reefs and we want to cover as much as we can in the next two to three years to create a global record,” Vevers said.
Vevers said there was already massive world wide interest with more than 1.4 million people following the project via Google Plus.
Get your Google goggles on, dive in and explore the reef off Lady Elliot Island here http://goo.gl/kDcLN
For more on lady Elliot Island visit http://www.ladyelliot.com.au/