As you’ve probably noticed, news in the underwater archaeology business has all but dried up – no pun intended! For some reason, news about a rapidly collapsing world economy seems to be taking precedence lately, but I think I found one story you may find interesting.
Fresh out today is Google Earth 5.0 (beta) that claims to include (1) historical imagery from around the world, (2) ocean floor and surface data from marine experts and (3) simplified touring with audio and voice recording. Obviously, the second item caught my attention in a big way so I downloaded the new Google Earth software and “dove” in. There isn’t much info on the Web yet, but you can start at http://earth.google.com/ocean/. Here you will find more claims about being able to (1) dive beneath the surface, (2) explore the ocean with top marine experts, (3) learn about ocean observations and (4) discover new places including surf, dive and travel hot spots and shipwrecks.
I’m a huge fan of Google Earth and I’ve used it extensively when researching locations for my novels (see http://www.SeedsOfCivilization.com) so please don’t take any of the observations that follow as criticism – it is, after all, still a beta product.
So far, I haven’t had any success with the “dive beneath the surface” feature. I can get the eye altitude indicator to read -34,805 feet (the bottom of the Mariana – or Marianas – Trench) but I can’t see any features at ANY depth, ANYWHERE. If you’ve figured this one out, let me know and I’ll pass your how-to info on to our readers.
The rest of the ocean additions are provided by way of fly-out balloons activated when you click on the several new icons you will find. Spin the globe and look for red and white dive flags to see underwater videos. Blue and white tall ship icons will direct you to the locations of shipwrecks and the whales with a string of numbers nearby take you on a “swim” with a tagged marine creature. This is the only feature I found that actually gives you a glimpse of underwater terrain.
My biggest beef with GEv5 is that it frequently and regularly “locks up” and refuses to do anything. This could be due to the huge amount of traffic that’s probably hitting the Google Earth servers today or it could be still imperfect (i.e. beta) software, but it’s very frustrating. If I have any real work to do, I’ll have to go back to the last v4 edition.
As you know from my posts here, one of my biggest pet peeves is that everything academia tells about the history of our civilization(s) is based on a partial exploration of less than 30% of the planet – the part that sticks out of the water. With Version 5, Google Earth makes it a little easier for “armchair researchers” to explore, examine and speculate about the rest of the globe.
Get your FREE copy of Google Earth 5.0 (beta) at: http://earth.google.com.