Google Earth’s 3D view of the Ocean floor was first introduced in version 5. It has been improved a number of times since then. Panaromio photos in the oceans were added in 2010 and underwater Street View in 2012.
Google’s current ocean floor data comes from a number of sources, including:
- Ship bathymetry data. Learn more about it in this post.
- An extrapolation of water surface heights to estimate undersea mountains and canyons, based on radar data collected by satellite.
- Satellite data on slight variations of the pull of gravity over the oceans.
One of the organizations that has provided this data in the past is the Scripps Institution Of Oceanography, University of California, San Diego. Yesterday, they released some new data from the satellites CryoSat-2 and Jason-1, including global maps of the sea floor that they have released in KML format so they can be viewed in Google Earth. Read more about it and download the KMLs here. Be sure to watch the video featured on that page, which explains more about it.