While I can neither take credit for nor claim any influence on Google's recent announcement, I'm pleased to say that some of the things I wished for last year in my posting "New Perspectives; Looking Down and Under" are about to come true! In that posting, I wished that we would soon have similar capabilities as those provided by Google Earth and Google Sky, but these would vary in that they would look down and under to the earth's oceans and seas. Well, the title of this posting pretty much says it all, and you can read about it in the WebWare article "Google Diving into 3D mapping of Oceans".
Google Ocean (the name is tentative), shares similar goals, as well as the potential of increased collaboration, mass contribution, and "networking" that Google Earth and Google Sky present. See my previous posts "New Perspectives: Looking Up" and "New Perspectives: The Third Wave" for more details and context about how powerful this can be. These views were summed up in the article:
"In addition to the 'wow factor" Google Ocean will no doubt have for amateur oceanographers, marine enthusiasts, and anyone fascinated by the movie 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, the project has the potential to promote more collaboration and advance research."
They also reflect my previous comments about how little we know about the 70% of our planet that is covered by the seas:
"'We hope that one of the outcomes of Google Ocean will be an understanding of how much remains to be explored,' said Miller of Scripps. 'We know far more about the surface of Mars from a few weeks of radar surveying in orbit than we know of the bottom of the ocean after two centuries.'"
Unfortunately, Google Oceans is not yet released, and Google is not saying much officially yet. I'll be watching for the first chance to start using this new capability, and let you know as soon as it happens. Since I live full time at sea now, this announcement is particularly relevant and practical for me. I already use Google Earth extensively for surface information, such as exploring a port or anchorage I'm about to put into. In addition to my charts of the area, the photos and the ability to fly over the area before I get there have made a huge difference in terms of safety and in my confidence for sailing to new places, especially at night or in poor weather with low visibility. But I suspect that many of you would have similar fascination with the earth's oceans and be just as anxious to learn more. Perhaps some of you will have research or other information to contribute, and we can add yet another way in which mass contribution and the power of networking helps us all get better at getting better.
This announcement about Google Oceans is yet another great example of the power of wishes and how they often do come true (you might want to read about another wish come true in my recent posting "The Future is about Winning!", which highlighted the wish that turned into Pangea Day).
Although we may want to be careful what we wish for, I could not be more serious or sincere about my wish that you'll keep believing in the power of wishing and do some of your own! I'll continue to share some of mine. I'm also interested in knowing what are some of YOUR wishes for positive change.