Oceans and Marine Protected Areas Go Digital
In an attempt to raise awareness about the planet’s endangered ocean ecosystems and to connect everday Internet users with the scientific community, Google has launched its "Oceans in Google Earth" feature.
Nearly four years after Google gave us the ability to zoom in to view streets, and later explore the galaxies in the sky, the latest version of the software allows users to dive deep beneath the unchartered landscape of the world's oceans.
Google Ocean includes twenty different layers of information contributed by ocean explorers, researchers, and scientists. Among the new tools: the ability to track satellite-tagged animals, view shipwrecks, hunt for whales, and learn more about marine protected areas (MPAs) worldwide.
The MPA tool indicates sensitive areas of the world’s oceans and includes the project sites in which CORAL works. When you click on an MPA icon, a variety of information pops up, from descriptive text and photos to videos and local information.
There are roughly 4,500 areas throughout the world's oceans that have been designated as marine protected areas. Not all of them are listed on Google Ocean; however, the tool provides a visual and electronic means of connecting casual and ardent marine conservationists the world over.