SLIDESHOW

Google Ocean Showcase: Dive into Your Desktop

New multimedia tours feature some of the Earth's hottest surf and dive spots, important shipwrecks, large underwater mountains and vast canyon systems running along the seafloor.

Dive in, the Water's Fine!

Building on the success of Google Earth 5 and the Google Ocean layer, Google on Friday launched Ocean Showcase: seven multimedia tours for Google Earth. You won't find the Lost City of Atlantis on these tours, but you will see some of the Earth's hottest surf and dive spots, historically important shipwrecks, large underwater mountains and vast canyon systems running along the seafloor. Ocean Showcase incorporates more than 1,000 images and video from a variety of sites and scientific organizations including the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI), National Geographic, WannaSurf.com and many others.

You can download the tours and watch them in the desktop version of Google Earth desktop or just use the Google Earth browser plugin. The following pages give you just a taste of what's in store for you with Ocean Showcase.

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Background photo: Flickr user Krister462

Cousins Rock: Explore the Ocean

One of the first stops on the this introductory tour to the ocean hosted by National Geographic ocean explorer Syliva Earle is Cousin's Rock near James (Santiago) Island in the Galapagos Islands. This part of the ocean is fertile waters for all kinds of life including eagle rays, sea turtles and abundant schools of fish.

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Ano Nuevo: Underwater Terrain

Just off the coast of San Francisco Bay are a series of treacherous ridges that elephant seals have to pass through before reaching their mating grounds at the Ano Nuevo State Park.

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Monterey Bay Canyon: Underwater Terrain

This underwater canyon located between Santa Cruz and Monterey, California is actually larger than the Grand Canyon. Google Earth created these images based on data collected by robotic underwater vehicles from MBARI.

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MBARI in Antarctica: Research Discoveries

MBARI went to Antarctica in 2009 to study the movement and biogeochemical cycles around icebergs in an attempt to learn more about these large masses of ice. In this stop in the Research Discoveries tour, you can watch scientists drop GPS tracking devices on the iceberg using a remote-control plane.

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Hawaiian Lava Formations: Research Discoveries

After Antarctica, the MBARI trip takes you to data collected in 2001 about the lava formations deep underwater off the coast of Hawaii.

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CSS Alabama: Shipwrecks

Google Earth has developed a shipwreck tour with Shipwreckcentral.com. This tour features a lot of YouTube videos that let you see underwater archeologists in action. One of the highlights is the CSS Alabama, a civil war ship sunk off the coast of France.

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Hawaii Pipeline: Surf Spots

Google teamed up with the crowdsourced surf atlas WannaSurf.com to create a tour that shows you some of the hottest surf spots in the world. Your journey starts at this famous spot in Hawaii known as 'The Pipeline,' which features fast waves that end in a series of shallow reefs.

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Maverick's: Surf Spots

Located in Northern California, Maverick's is a legendary big wave spot famous for attracting daring surfers in search of the ultimate rush amid huge waves, treacherous rocks and deadly sharks. Maverick's was featured in the 2004 documentary Riding Giants.

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Blue Hole: Dive Spots

Fans of scuba and snorkeling can get some tips from this Ocean Showcase tour, which takes you to some of the greatest locations in the world to see beautiful coral reefs, sunken ships and more. This image shows Lighthouse Reef off the coast of Belize in Central America. This is the second largest coral reef in the world, after Australia's Great Barrier Reef, and is home to the Blue Hole, a natural formation almost 400 feet deep.

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Aliwal Shoal: Dive Spots

If your life's ambition is to swim with the sharks, then Aliwal Shoal off the coast of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa may be the dive spot for you. It is home to blacktip reef sharks, ragged-tooth sharks and many other forms of sea life.

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