Our first idea really put us on the map...
Underwater Street View
99% of people don't dive and probably never will. It is a huge issue for ocean conservation. The ocean is another world that most people don't know or understand. Our big idea was to take Google Street View underwater. Funded by our founding sponsor XL Catlin we developed a unique underwater camera (SVII) capable of revealing the oceans in Google Street View. More people went virtual diving in the first week of its launch than have ever been diving in person. The imagery is the most viewed underwater imagery in history (with views in the billions) and we're only just getting started.
Check it out at https://www.google.com/maps/streetview/#oceans
This idea immediately grew into other big ideas...
The Seaview Survey
If you're going to reveal the oceans, why not collect imagery that is a valuable scientific record? A global record on a 'Google scale' that enables scientists to monitor change over time. The Seaview Survey is the most comprehensive survey of the world's coral reefs that has ever been carried out, and it was achieved in under four years. We teamed up with The University of Queensland, and numerous other scientific partners in addition to XL Catlin (founding partner) and Google to create a new way of surveying underwater environments 30 times more efficient than the traditional method. The technology was so successful it allowed us to create the first standardised global baseline record of coral reefs and we've made it freely available to all. But it's not just great science, the project's outreach campaign has generated over $180m worth of media exposure for ocean science.
The record: http://www.globalreefrecord.org/
We're entering the age of virtual reality and it's set to revolutionise education. We have already captured the 360-degree imagery needed to seize this opportunity and we're teaming up with Google to revolutionise ocean literacy. Using Google Cardboard and their Expeditions programme we're able to offer virtual underwater field trips to classrooms all around the world. Millions of kids will be able to explore the oceans as part of a curriculum based learning. Seeing the reaction of a class exploring the underwater world for the first time is one of the most exciting sights we've ever seen. We need to inspire the leaders of the future.
Check it out at https://www.google.com/edu/expeditions/
Ocean Science Syndicate
The biggest ocean stories just aren't getting enough media attention, especially climate change related stories and there's nowhere near enough support for ocean science. We created the Ocean Change Syndicate to tackle this issue head on. We hunt out the important stories, bring together the key players, send out response teams and then do everything possible to make sure those stories hit the headlines.
We kicked off the initiative by teaming up with NOAA and Google to announce and promote "The third global bleaching event." It became one of the biggest climate change stories in the lead up to COP21 with a media reach of 2.4 billion and a media value over $25 million. An historic agreement came out of COP21, but we need to keep the momentum going. The aim of our Ocean Change Syndicate is to make that happen and to increase global support for ocean science.
Our bait for the media: http://www.globalcoralbleaching.org/
Our work on this initiative is the subject of Jeff Orlowski's latest feature film (director of Chasing Ice).