23 May 2013
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Technology allows Underwater Street View


Underwater life attracts all. No matter we are able to see it or not, but we always desire to uncover this adventurous mystery.

Have you heard about Street View Universe? Not yet, then get ready for this exciting tour with Techvedic. By partnering with Google, Richard Vevers and Underwater World have started creating 360-degree view of coral reefs so that one can experience the world of coral reefs without approaching them. As coral reefs are gradually disappearing, Street View is on the way to generate interest and awareness among people for its preservation. Also, to get the reference that in what way reefs as well as other sensitive ocean bottom areas are managing their lives this data is collected from underwater.

Well, obviously this Street View is not an easy task and requires some fancy use of technology. In order to make the clear view of coral reefs, underwater lenses should be placed in an innovative manner so as to create a new camera rig. For performing this task, three wide-angle equipped cameras are used. In this, the current Seaview cameras, known as SVII, which can capture left and right images merging into a 360-degree panorama, is included. Along with this, it can also capture a direct downward image. Now, you must be having a question that what is the use of this downward image. This is just used for compatibility purpose to match them with the existing scientific databases.

The entire mapping of cameras is done to capture an image in every three seconds, and, therefore cameras are located about two meters apart-along the bottom. Presently, they have only four cameras with which only Great Barrier Reef can be explored. One camera of this category costs $50,000. The team working on this project wants to cover all the coral reefs of the world and for this they want to expand. And, that would definitely demand money and technology. Further, Vevers is planning something different. As per him, all recreational divers can become scientists by capturing images with their underwater cameras. Smartphones can also be used in underwater housings. In between, volunteers can help in classifying the sea creatures present in the images. Afterwards, they can use the results collected in scientific research and exploration.

Apart from this, there are many more areas, still untouched, which incite the Underwater Earth Team. These are creating 3D models of the reefs as well as joining with self-directed submersible creators to position a robotic version of that camera rig. Through this, it can stay underwater for a longer time without a trained diver.

Hats-off to technology, and if these robotic versions have their way, then underwater life will no longer remain a mystery.

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