Google Maps has more or less covered most of our planet’s surfaces on Street View, but has barely ventured below sea level into ocean waters, that is until now.

The search engine has revealed that new images from more than 40 underwater locations around the world have just been added to Street View. These come in addition to images already collected from world heritage sites Brazil that were unveiled earlier this year.

Google partnered with XL Catlin Seaview Survey, NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries and the Chagos Conservation Trust on the Street View underwater project, which comes as a run up to World Oceans Day on June 8th and aims to raise awareness about ocean conservation.

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You can explore breathtaking views such as the American Samoa and Chagos Islands, the Bahamas in the Atlantic , The Great Barrier Reef in Australia and gaze at sea creatures like the Cook Islands’ humpback whales.

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“Mapping the ocean is key to preserving it. Each image in Google Maps is a GPS-located digital record of these underwater and coastal environments, which can be used as a baseline to monitor change over time,” Google’s Jenifer Austin and Brian Sullivan wrote in a blog post.

The company is also working with four US groups to map and publish more underwater imagery on Street View in the near future and is currently co-producing interactive global footage of industrial fishing.

Ocean life along Africa’s coast is yet to be featured, but we’re hoping to see it added as well.

[Source – Google Lat Long Blog, images – Google Street View]