Monday, February 6, 2012

Atlantis disappears again ... but this time it's all thanks to Google

After three years, Google Earth map has finally been updated to remove a gridlike pattern which sparked rumors that the underwater city of Atlantis had been found.

The exciting 'non-discovery' was made in 2009 when eagle-eyed internet users spotted a large grid on the seafloor that looked strikingly like the fabled city. Google was quick to explain that the misrepresentation was caused by overlapping datasets, and Atlantis had not been found, but the map remained - until now.

Mystery: For centuries the fabled story of Atlantis has captured the imagination

This week, Google announced that to mark the third anniversary of Google Earth, it had released a major update that promises to give users a 'clearer view' of Earth’s subterranean landscape.

The new update, known as bathymetry, is the product of Google’s collaboration with Scripps Institution of Oceanography, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the US Navy, NGA and GEBCO (along with contributions from a few other organizations) that promises Google’s 'most accurate view of the seafloor to date.'

The original version of Google Ocean was a newly developed prototype map that had high resolution but also contained thousands of blunders related to the original archived ship data,' said David Sandwell, a Scripps geophysicist, in a statement.

'UCSD undergraduate students spent the past three years identifying and correcting the blunders as well as adding all the multibeam echosounder data archived at the National Geophysical Data Center in Boulder, Colorado.'

The newest version of Google Earth includes more accurate imagery in several key areas of ocean using data collected by research cruises over the past three years.

The Google map now matches the map used in the research community, which makes the Google Earth program much more useful as a tool for planning cruises to uncharted areas,” Sandwell added.

For centuries the story of Atlantis has captured the imagination - a fabled city of great beauty, culture and wealth that was suddenly swallowed up by the ocean.

Its location - or at least the source of the legend - remained a tantalising mystery. Was it really in the Mediterranean and not in the Atlantic at all?

Some claim its ruins lie beneath the waves off the coast of Cornwall. Others say they've been found in the Black Sea. The image - discovered on internet mapping tool Google Earth - lay in an area of the Atlantic long thought of as a possible location for the city.

To get the clearer imagery, though, Google had to get away from Earth-based technology and rely on 'spacecraft measurements of bumps and dips in the ocean surface.'

Google Ocean is also becoming increasingly accurate in other ways. The program now has 15 percent of its seafloor image taken from shipboard soundings at a 0.6-mile (1 km) resolution.
Source: dailymail

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