As Street View takes the plunge underwater, you will not see a man with a horse’s head but you might be able to spot this tiny Denise’s pygmy seahorse, Hippocampus denise. The species was confirmed in Australian waters for the first time during the underwater Catlin Seaview Survey, which is mapping the world’s reefs to create a watery Google Street View. The seahorse was found at the Great Barrier Reef, off Heron Island, at a depth of 92 metres.
Having completed equipment trials, the project was officially launched this week as it begins to chart the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea of Australia. Next year, it will move on to the deep and shallow coral reefs of Hawaii, the Philippines and Bermuda.
At the Great Barrier Reef, the Catlin Seaview team plans to take up to 50,000 continuous high-resolution, 360-degree panoramic images using a tablet-operated underwater camera. The photos will be stitched together so that web users can take a virtual dive over the reefs – imagery from initial trials of the camera can already be explored on Google Maps.