Ocean’ in Google Earth, which launched on February 2, builds on the free, fabulous 3-D mapping software ‘Google Earth’ by allowing users to navigate underwater in never-before clarity.
New ‘layers’ to the satellite-based software include contour maps of the seafloor; locations of historical sites (if your youth was charmed by tales of poems and tales of lost cities) and shipwrecks and even identify the tiny phytoplankton that provide the staple crop, the dal-roti of the ocean’s food chain.
Within these contours and layers, you can check out multimedia features that combine data and maps with videos, quizzes, and other interactives. See the Google Earth Ocean preview and enter another realm of creation.
Meanwhile, here’s something by the Creator to marvel at (see photo, right). It is a long-treasured possession, a piece of exquisite coral from the Andamans gifted way before awareness of Coastal Regulation Zones (CRZs) that absolutely forbid messing with the shoreline.
Looking at it bestows total wonder. I was not sorry any more to have missed joining my friends who went diving in the Andamans this Christmas-New Year. In any case, I think I’m too chicken-livered to dive deep. So this bit of coral that looks exactly like stone lace, was my ‘lucky charm’ with which to imagine the shoals of bright fish that swam past their faces down in those clear turquoise waters. And it evoked the unseen soft white sands of Havelock Island, 57 km northeast of Port Blair.
“We can’t ever see the sea again with the same opaque eyes,” said the divers. Google Earth Ocean lets the rest of us into the water while NatGeog vivifies the Lacemaker’s wonders on TV.