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EU Helps Google Map Oceans

  • February 4th, 2009
  • Posted by Daniel Challis

The European Commission has joined Internet giant Google to help chart Europe’s seas in the name of better maritime awareness.

Many of Europe’s ocean wonders are now available to the Internet community through Google Ocean…


The European Commission will release two projects to help with Google’s new bit of software to add to its already successful Google Earth, which allows users to wander the virtual globe through satellite imagery and aerial photographs.

The Commission is set to establish its European Marine Observation and Data Network (EMODNET) which will help gather data on seabed geology, living species and chemical pollution, in order to create complete sea-basin pictures.

It will also publish a prototype later this year called European Atlas of the Seas which aims to raise awareness of Europe’s maritime heritage and environment.

The European Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Joe Borg, said in a press conference on Monday (02.2.09) that Google Ocean and the EU’s own smaller-scale projects would help people “understand and appreciate the wonderful yet fragile marine world that surrounds us”.

“The simple fact is that we still know very little about the oceans.

“Therefore, we welcome all the tools that can assist us in understanding our planet better”, he said.

Mr Borg said the Google Ocean tool would also help with Europe’s own objectives of making marine knowledge more accessible to those he called “armchair explorers”.

“Exploration of the seas is no longer only the remit of seafarers”, he said.


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Google Ocean, which went live on Monday, allows users to view clips and satellite images of the sea from many locations around the globe.

Both media groups and conservation groups such as National Geographic and the BBC have contributed video footage ranging from shipwrecks, deep-sea dives and encounters with rare sea creatures.

Academic data on the state of particular oceans is also available.


European Commission Maritime Affairs, ‘Speaking points for press conference on launch of Google Ocean’ (02.2.09),, (04.2.09).

Jennifer Rankin, European Voice, ‘EU joins Google’s efforts to map oceans’ (02.2.09),’s-effort-to-map-oceans/63814.aspx, (04.2.09).

Google Press Center, ‘Introducing Google Earth 5.0’ (02.2.09), (04.2.09).