NOAA adds Great Lakes images

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration helped develop a new feature on Google Earth that lets visitors view detailed three-dimensional mapping of the Great Lakes, agency officials announced April 23.

Visitors to the new Great Lakes feature can explore the canyons and sandbars in eastern Lake Superior, the Lake Michigan mid-lake reef complex, and the old river channel – now underwater – that once connected Lakes Michigan and Huron at the Straits of Mackinac, NOAA officials said.

“NOAA’s data opens up the fascinating world underneath the planet’s largest fresh water system,” said Richard Spinrad, NOAA assistant administrator for oceanic and atmospheric research and a Google advisory board member.

NOAA’s Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory in Ann Arbor, Mich., worked with the National Geophysical Data Center in Boulder, Colo., to produce the Google Earth tour to highlight the coastal and subsurface features

“I expect that others will see the potential of this tool and create their own Great Lakes tours and expand the possibilities,” said Marie Colton, GLERL acting director.

The Great Lakes information was compiled from archival U.S. and Canadian soundings that span more than 75 years. David Schwab, a physical oceanographer at GLERL, generated a map of lake depths from the joint project and provided it to Google to form the basis for the Great Lakes topography.

To highlight some of the coastal and subsurface features of the Great Lakes, the NOAA Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory created a narrated Google Earth tour.

About the Author

Doug Beizer is a staff writer for Federal Computer Week.

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