US: The American scientists are learning to use specialised fisheye lenses underwater in the Florida Keys this week in a bid to apply "Street View" mapping to underwater research on its marine sanctuaries.
The basketball-shaped, triple-lens SVII cameras employ the same technology that is used to create Google Street View images of neighbourhoods on land. Instead of being placed on top of a car, they are secured to scuba divers and powered through the water by small motors. The team is also testing smaller versions mounted on tripods. The technology also records GPS data and quickly connects the images together into panoramic views or 360-degree views.
The scientists plan to make available few rotating and panoramic images online this week, including a selection on Google Maps. This imagery will offer the public a window into marine ecosystems, which remain difficult and costly to explore over long stretches of time.
The images will add scale and details to data that has already been collected, and illustrate the successes and failures of coral restoration. They will also help scientists study the effects of warming ocean temperatures, pollution and hurricanes on reefs, officials said.
Mitchell Tartt, chief of the conservation science division at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Office of National Marine Sanctuaries said, "This allows people who can't get underwater to understand what we mean by putting up a special preservation area around this particular spot."
Source: The Huffington Post