Study Photographing Great Barrier Reef for Google Maps

There have been many documentaries and TV specials made about the Great Barrier Reef and for good reason. It is one of the 7 natural wonders of the world and if you have seen pictures, videos or actually been there in person you understand the beauty and uniqueness reef offer the world. The Great Barrier Reef is the worlds largest coral reef system spanning more than 130,000 square miles. Until now there has never been a full study of the reef.

Barrier Reef

Starting later this year The Catlin Seaview Survey aims to carry out the first comprehensive study to document the composition and health of coral reefs on the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea.


The Catlin Seaview Survey is split into three different components. The first component is photographing the reef in a Google Maps style that will offer viewers a full 360 degree panoramic vision on an unprecedented scale using specially developed cameras. The cameras used have been specially designed to photograph the ocean reefs to give users a view of the reef at home viewer have never seen before.  It is incredible, you can visit the Catlin Seview website to see demos of the underwater image mapping of the Great Barrier Reef. According to the Catlin Seaview Survey, “The visual baseline will be made freely available through Google, for scientists all around the world to study.”

Underwater Mapping

The second focus of the survey is studying the health and biodiversity of the reefs at depths ranging from 30 to 100 meters as well as looking at the effects that climate change is having on the reefs. The third element of the survey will be tagging and tracking the larger sea creatures living in the reef such as sharks, turtles and manta rays. This will allow the study of how large animals are moving and changing their distributions in response to rapidly warming seas.

It is much easier to encourage people to take care of their environment and be more environmentally aware when they know what they are losing. From what we have seen of the “Google Mapping” technology of the reefs so far, not only will the survey allow scientists to learn and discover more about the Great Barrie Reef. Once completed it will allow the public to see and personally explore the reef like never before. You can learn more about the Catlin Seaview Survey Project by visiting their website,


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