Previously a largely indistinct feature visible in low resolution in Google Maps the reef now suddenly looms large off the coast of Queensland as great dark mass that stretches over 2500 km from Bundaberg to Cape York.
While you still don’t get street level view of the entire reef it’s now possible to get a much clearer picture of the thousands of coral cays lagoons and underwater reefs that make up what is the world’s biggest structure built by organisms.
Importantly the reef is overlaid with services like Panoramio’s photos which add dramaticaly to the detail being presented as well as Wikipedia and National Geographic entries.
Third-party web developers can also create Mapplets to add new features or overlay their data on the reef system.
The maps were developed in a collaboration between Google and Australia’s Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority. Raul Vera Head of Geo Products Google Australia said: “The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park is one of the world’s greatest geographical treasures and we are thrilled to share it with people worldwide who use Google Maps.”
The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority Chairman Russell Reichelt added the environmental message: “This is a great example how technology can be used to educate people about the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park and why this area is special and should be protected.”
Looking at the Google Maps of the reef you’d have to say that if the Great Wall of China is the most imposing large-scale structure built by humans then tiny coral organisms off the coast of Australia have outdone us with their colossal coral structure.
To get an online map of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park just zoom in onto the area just off the Queensland coast.