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Google Earth update erases undersea grid mistaken for "Atlantis"

Google Earth
Google Ocean grid mistaken for the underwater city of Atlantis
Google Earth

(CBS) - A recent update of Google Earth corrected a three-year old error showing a grid on the ocean floor resembling an underwater city. The image went on to spark conspiracy theories that the mythical city of Atlantis had been discovered.

Full coverage of Google at Tech Talk

Turns out it was just an error, due to incomplete data of the ocean floor. Google Oceans, which is an extension of Google Earth, was recently revamped with more accurate data.

The update included new data collected by Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California, San Diego, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and other mapping organizations.

"The original version of Google Ocean was a newly developed prototype map that had high resolution but also contained thousands of blunders related to the original archived ship data," said David Sandwell, a geophysicist at Scripps Institute of Oceanography.

"UCSD undergraduate students spent the past three years identifying and correcting the blunders as well as adding all the multibeam echosounder data archived at the National Geophysical Data Center in Boulder, Colorado."

Google Ocean updated to correct grid alleged to be the underwater city of "Atlantis"
Google Earth

The new Google Ocean is so comprehensive that it's now on par with maps used by researchers. Sandwell added that Google Earth is now "much more useful as a tool for planning cruises to uncharted areas."

One of the most talked about changes is the correction of a "grid-like artifact on the seafloor." While discovering Atlantis would have been thrilling, the reality is far from it. According to the NOAA, the grid was created by an overlapping data set.

Google Ocean was updated to celebrate the three-year anniversary of Google Earth.