CORVALLIS - A new book by an oceanographer at Oregon State University can help you visit a world you've never seen before, sample cutting-edge technology and even fly beneath the sea.
Called "Undersea With GIS," the book includes an educational CD-ROM and uses the evolving technologies of geographic information systems to explore the oceans depths and a terrain largely precluded to humans. Although they cover 71 percent of the Earth's surface, most of the world's ocean topography has been largely unknown until just the past few years.
"More progress has been made in mapping the topography of Venus and Mars than has been made in mapping a significant portion of our own planet Earth," said Dawn Wright, an associate professor of geosciences at OSU and editor of the book, published by ESRI Press. "But the secrets of the planet's oceans are gradually being revealed, and GIS is playing a vital role in these new discoveries. The book shows many of them in vivid detail."
New technologies for ocean data collection and information management make mapping and interpretation of the ocean environment possible at extraordinary levels of details, Wright said. Maps and charts can now be visualized in three dimensions, from coastal areas to great depths. And practical applications of this knowledge range from managing submarine cables to tracking whales or protecting the marine environment.
The CD-ROM included with the book contains ocean data, a sample educational model for K-12 teachers, and provides several three-dimensional, multimedia "underwater fly-throughs" for viewers.
Royalties from the sales of "Undersea With GIS" will be donated to the Oregon chapter of the Surfrider Foundation and the OSU Diversity Internship Program in Marine Sciences, Wright said.