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Google adds Galapagos Islands to the increasingly poorly named 'street view,' and it's gorgeous

A sea lion traffic jam on Google Street View

Above: A sea lion traffic jam on Google Street View

Image Credit: John Koetsier

Marine iguanas and blue-footed boobies aren’t found on too many streets. But both are found in significant quantity in the unspoiled ecosystems of the beautiful Galapagos Islands, which Google announced this morning are now available on Street View.

And they’re absolutely gorgeous — as are the multiple sea lions caught on camera by Google’s underwater Trekker cameras.

This week is the 178th anniversary of Charles Darwin’s historic voyage to the Galapagos, and the islands remain one of the most diverse and unique places on earth. Google’s cameras captured both the islands themselves, and the surrounding waters and reefs with breathtaking underwater photography.

“Darwin visited Floreana Island, but he didn’t have the scuba gear needed to properly explore the marine life just off the island’s coast,” Google Earth Outreach project lead Raleigh Seamster wrote. “Thanks to our partner, Catlin Seaview Survey and their SVII underwater camera, we were able to collect underwater imagery of some especially energetic and inquisitive sea lions that came out to see whether the divers wanted to play!”

According to Google, the imagery isn’t just for armchair explorers like you and me, it also has scientific value. In spite of being studied by scientists for generations, the Galapagos Islands are not well mapped, according to Swen Lorenz of the Darwin Foundation.

“There has always been satellite imagery, of course, but to now take that next step and work with Google to provide better mapping for Galapagos is something that is very important for our work, and much appreciated.”

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