I remember when we were kids on a family vacation in Nova Scotia once we found ourselves wandering the harbour docks at night (to this day I don't know why since it seems like a really sketchy activity). Well, we were walking by a large freighter that were loading provisions on board and I have no idea how, but we were invited by one of the crew members onboard for a tour of the ship. I wouldn't be surprised if my father started yelling from the deck asking for one as he was that kind of guy.

So next thing you know we are getting the full tour. We visited the galley, bridge and even got to meet the captain who was really excited to meet us and show us around. For us it was easily the best part of our vacation meanwhile my mother was terrified the whole time and was convinced that we were going to get kidnapped.

Anyways, ever since that day I have loved big ships. I love everything about them and fascinated by their mysterious inner workings. I mean, who really knows where all the pipes that you see actually go? Nobody knows, that's who.

So you can imagine my excitement when Google announced that they have rolled out a Google Streetview tour of the Schmidt Ocean Institute's new 272-foot research vessel, Falkor.

The Bridge of the Falkor ship.

The tour is awesome. You can wander through all nine levels starting with the engine room and all the way up to the crow's nest (do they call it that on a research vessel?).

You view the street view feature here and by dragging the street view icon over the ship or click here for the direct link to the engine room.

Down in the the Falkor engine room.

You might be wondering why this boat in particular has received the full Google tour treatment. Well, the Schmidt Ocean Institute was founded by Dr. Erik Schmidt who is both the Chief Executive at Google and quite the philanthropist. gcaptain.com has the full backstory.

SOI bought the vessel from the German government in 2009 and recently completed an extensive three year, $94 million conversion of the ship from a fishery protection vessel to the high-tech research vessel it is today.

"Falkor's biggest goal is to help change the public conversation about ocean health," said Ms. Schmidt at the Exploratorium, "We're living on a planet where we really don't even know most of what's here. So, we would like to say it's time that we did understand."

Following her San Francisco debut, Falkor left the City by the Bay for British Columbia on two expeditions in Canadian and U.S. waters, before making her way southwest for several months conducting oceanographic research in the Central and Western Pacific.

More info: gcaptain.com
Falkor photo credit: schmidtocean.org

Published in General News
Thursday, 09 August 2012 21:24

Google’s Kayak Themed Doodle

Just in case you didn’t notice, the Olympic themed Google Doodle for today (Aug 9) is slalom canoeing (or kayaking to us North American kids).

Playing the game I quickly discovered that my virtual paddling performance was better than in real life.

Published in General News
Friday, 23 January 2009 12:39

Google Ocean Coming Soon?

Google OceanCNET is reporting today that Google has booked Enviro Guy, Al Gore to speak at a Google Earth event next month.

It's going to take place at the California Academy of Sciences, San Francisco's newly rebuilt aquarium, planetarium, and natural history museum.

This has lead to rumours swirling that Google will finally unveil their long awaited Google Ocean which will add 3D ocean maps to Google Earth.
Published in General News
Tuesday, 25 September 2007 16:53

Google Street View

Google's Street View Car
Google's Street View Car
Today Sean and I were walking back to work from Tim Hortans here in downtown Toronto when we saw one of the Google Street View cars drove by. It was shooting photos of Bay Street. So, when they finally release Street View for the Toronto region, you might just see us there.

We actually were walking along one of the side dead end streets when it passed us. About a block down the road, it turned around and passed us going the other way. Knowing it was going to come back, we ran over and sat on a rock in a park and tried to look like supermodels. We sat apart on purpose so it wouldn't look like we were holding hands...

What is Street View you ask? Where have you been? It is an add-on to Google Maps. Zoom into a major US city like New York or San Fran. Once you zoom into the downtown core, you will see a little Street View button appear. Click over and bring on the good times.

Looking for one of the REI's in San Fran? Here is a link. As you can see, there is plenty of parking on the other side of the street.

I found a photo of the Chevy Cobalt car that Google uses. The car we saw today had California plates so it looks like they shipped up the fleet to Toronto. Strapped to the top of the car was a funny looking 360 degree camera that is used to take the photos. You can find lots of good technical information on Gizmodo.

As you can see, we I get excited about the little things...
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