10 Amazing Google Earth and Maps Discoveries

Matt Petronzio
10 Amazing Google Earth and Maps Discoveries
1. S.S. Jassim Shipwreck

1. S.S. Jassim Shipwreck

In 2003, the S.S. Jassim, a Bolivian cargo ferry, hit shallow water on the Wingate Reef off the coast of Sudan. While the shipwreck itself wasn't discovered on Google Earth, the image of it was, and now it's one of the largest shipwrecks visible on the platform, as well as one of the most searched-for. Image via Google Maps.

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Today, it's easy to be an explorer -- all you need is a computer, access to satellite technology and a sense of adventure. Google makes it even simpler with Google Earth and Google Maps, letting you travel virtually to any place in the world with just a click of your mouse.

Even though the average person can use these services to explore the planet, researchers and other scientific professionals use Google Earth and Google Maps as preliminary tools to analyze areas around the globe, uncovering some pretty amazing things we've never seen before.

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Rebecca Moore, engineering manager of Google Earth Outreach, recently spoke at Mashable's 2012 Social Good Summit about the power of these tools, which include 80 million kilometers of road data, 3D terrains and 20 petabytes of satellite imagery.

"There's a very interesting experiment going on right now," she said. "What happens when you put in the hands of the world, for free, the most accurate, comprehensive, detailed, realistic replica of the planet that has ever existed?"

The answer is manyfold, but one thing's for sure -- the discoveries are limitless.

Check out the gallery for some truly awe-inspiring discoveries that researchers, archaelogists and satellite explorers have made throughout the past decade.

Thumbnail image courtesy of Google, YouTube video.

This story originally published on Mashable here.