Google Earth takes a dive

Underwater maps get an airing...

Underwater maps get an airing...

Google Earth maps of the seabed in UK waters have been released by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA).

The MCA manages the multimillion pound civil hydrography programme, which surveys the waters around the UK to ensure accurate mapping information of the seabed is gathered for updating nautical charts and publications.

The hydrography unit of the MCA's navigation safety branch has now made a selection of Google Earth images of some of these seabed charts available to the general public.

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Rob Spillard, the MCA's hydrography manager, said publishing the Google Earth images will encourage other organisations to share seabed data with the MCA and help identify new areas that should be surveyed to improve safety for mariners.

The MCA did warn, however, that the Google Earth seabed maps should not be used for actual nautical navigation purposes.

As well as maps of the seabed, Google has produced interactive maps of the moon and Mars in a mash-up with Nasa's images. Google Earth has also used images from the European Space Agency's satellites to showcase stunning pictures of natural disasters.