Google Earth added a bathymetric layer, nicknamed "Google Ocean," in 2009. Nat Geo had been making bathymetric maps like this one for years.

Map by National Geographic
  • On February 2, 2009, “Google Ocean”—an addition to the far-reaching Google Earth program—was launched. Google Earth, as it was originally created, did not include a bathymetric map—a map of the ocean floor. With this new version of Google Earth, you can explore the vast ocean as well as the land above it. Google partnered with many scientific organizations, including the National Geographic Society, to incorporate videos and images of the ocean and ocean organisms. 
    Sylvia Earle, a National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence known as “Her Deepness,” proposed the initial idea for Google Ocean at a conference in Spain. She suggested it to Google Earth’s John Hanke, reminding him that the ocean covers more than two-thirds of Earth’s surface. With the addition of the ocean to Google Earth, people can dive beneath the surface, visit the Mariana Trench, and discover areas of the ocean with explorers and marine experts. It is a good way to discover new places and learn about topics such as climate change and endangered species while still in your own home. 
  • Term Part of Speech Definition Encyclopedic Entry
    bathymetric map Noun

    representation of spatial information displaying depth underwater.

    climate change Noun

    gradual changes in all the interconnected weather elements on our planet.

    Encyclopedic Entry: Earth's Changing Climate
    endangered species Noun

    organism threatened with extinction.

    Encyclopedic Entry: endangered species
    Explorer-in-Residence Noun

    pre-eminent explorers and scientists collaborating with the National Geographic Society to make groundbreaking discoveries that generate critical scientific information, conservation-related initiatives and compelling stories.

    incorporate Verb

    to blend or bring together.

    initial Adjective


    marine Adjective

    having to do with the ocean.

    ocean Noun

    large body of salt water that covers most of the Earth.

    Encyclopedic Entry: ocean