Some parts of the ocean are now high-resolution

We mentioned it briefly a few days ago, and Google has now released some of that new data for the ocean in Google Earth.
As Google explains in their blog, most of the underwater terrain is generated use satellite extrapolations of water surface height. This technique has allowed them to create the undersea terrain for most of the planet, but it’s rather low-resolution.
However, a handful of organizations are able to collect high-resolution data using other techniques, and some of that data is now available in Google Earth. This data is collected using echosounding sonar from ships, and it much more detailed than the standard ocean terrain in Google Earth.

New underwater terrain

This new data has come from a variety of sources, including:
The Center for Coastal and Ocean Mapping – Joint Hydrographic Center
The Living Oceans Society
The California State University at Monterey Bay
Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI)
Google has produced a short undersea tour to show off some of the new terrain. Download it and check it out. They’ll continue to add more data as time goes on, so the data and imagery will keep improving over time.

About Mickey Mellen

Mickey has been using Google Earth since it was released in 2005, and has created a variety of geo-related sites including Google Earth Hacks. He runs a web design firm in Marietta, GA, where he lives with his wife and two kids.


  1. Actually there is already quite a bit of multi-beam sonar data in Google Earth. I have even found some of my work in a few locations. Although I have to say that I’m not too impressed with the quality in MBARI’s data set…

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